Over the river – Road Trip

Recently I went over the river on a road trip to visit my grandchildren who live three hours away.  My day of arrival was a beautiful, warm fall day so we headed to the park for Nature Camp.

“I Love Dirt” is a great book by Jennifer Ward.  I found it in our public library.  The book lists projects and activities that children or families can make and do in each season of the year.  I used activities from the Autumn section of the book.  Some I adapted, and others I used as they were presented.  Just see what we did.

I gave my grandson and granddaughter clipboards and pencils, and we set to work.

Animal Search – I made a checklist of animals we would look for in the park.  We found 5 out of 6 on the list – spider, ant, roly-poly, butterfly, bird, and cricket.  Can you guess what we couldn’t find?  A roly-poly.  We just couldn’t  find a damp area or a rock to turn over to reveal a roly-poly.

My grandson is working on his checklist.

Can you …

Also on the list were twinkle like a star, stomp like a bear, pull a worm from the ground like a robin, blow like a gentle breeze, and watch like an owl in a tree.

Here is my granddaughter hopping like a rabbit.

What can you find? On the walk to the park my grandson and granddaughter each picked up 4 gum balls that had fallen from sweet gum trees along the sidewalk.   I put the gum balls down to indicate the corners of a rectangle that was basically 18 X 24 inches. Each child had a rectangle to explore.  I told them to get down on their hands and knees and look to see what they could find in those grassy areas.  They each wrote their “finds” down.

My 6 year old grandson found clover, clover flowers, grass, dirt, roots, and a dead moth.  Then he smiled at me and asked me to stand in the middle of his rectangle.  I did and he wrote down on his list – Grandma.  Pretty cute!

My 9 year old granddaughter found an ant, leaves, clover, grass, wood chips, roots, dead grass, muddy leaves, and a little boy.  Little boy?  Yes, there was a toddler playing in the park.  He was attracted to my grandchildren down on the ground so he ran over to where they were.  He stopped right in the middle of my granddaughter’s search rectangle so she claimed him as being in her space.

Leaf Races  My grandchildren each selected some leaves for leaf races. They put their clipboards down on the sidewalk as the goal line.  Then they got down on their hands and knees and blew their leaves down toward the goal line.  Big problem of the day.  It was a windy day so the leaves went wherever they were blown by the wind, not by the children. They had fun trying and trying to get their leaves to the goal line.

Then we sat down in the sunshine and talked about birds.  Why are male cardinals red, but female cardinals are brown?  (The brown bird on a nest can be hidden by its coloring from predators who might try to take the eggs from the nest.)  What makes a bird, a bird?

My grandchildren were able to name several of the items on the list: feathers, wings, two legs, beaks, warm blooded AND my granddaughter even knew that birds have hollow bones.

We decided to head back home.  On the way my grandson and granddaughter picked up leaves and sticks and flowers to use for our next project.  Leaf People  When we were home and had fortified ourselves with a candy corn cookie, they brought out their craft supplies and made such creative people and even a butterfly.

My grandson made a leaf person with a leaf, gum ball head, stem extremeties, and yarn hair and features.

Notice that my grandson used tiny flowers for the hands on this leaf person. The head is a leaf and the features are tiny pieces of a darker leaf that he taped to the face.

My granddaughter made a leaf girl complete with a clover necklace.

And just look at this neat butterfly that my granddaughter made.

After projects were finished, I was ready to put my feet up, but my grandchildren were ready to go to the school yard to play soccer.  Guess who tripped on the soccer ball while trying to stop it and fell down?  Yes, me.  When we got home, my grandson gave me a band-aid to cover my scraped and bruised knee.  He said that I had to use a plain one because the Sponge Bob box was empty.

Thank you for visiting Grandma in the Mailbox.  My grandson who lives 20 minutes away will soon be having a birthday.  Next week I’ll share with you the cakes that I have made for him for his first five birthdays.  I hope you stop back again.

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