Life since my last Outdoor Hour blog post has been very full of travels, illness, and the holidays, so I wasn’t able to do to much in the way of school or nature study in December. We finally got back into our routine and are enjoying our nature studies.
The topic for focus with the Outdoor Hour Challenge this month is rocks. I will admit that I know next to nothing about rocks. I borrowed a rock & mineral guide from the library and looked up the rock section in the Handbook of Nature Study to try to gain a little knowledge to assist us with our rock challenges this month. But to be honest, the book that was the most helpful for me was the one I borrowed for the kids: Rocks! Rocks! Rocks! (a book recommended in the Handbook of Nature Study January newsletter). So this month, we are all learning the very basics about rocks together.
In the Rock Study Grid, provided in the Newsletter, Barb gives many ideas for rock activities. So far, we have taken several “Rock Walks” and found rocks in our backyard to inspect.
1. Find a rock shaped like an oval (we didn’t really find one shaped like an animal- at least not yet)
2. Stack some rocks- 3, 5, 10
With small children- 2 of which are boys, 3 was all we got stacked one on top of the other (before there was the knocking down part). But we did make a rock pile centerpiece on our table that is pretty cool.
3. Find 3 rocks to take home in your pocket.
I sent the kids out with Daddy a few weekends ago during the small boys’ nap time. They were given the mission to collect 3 rocks to put in their pockets. Princess was wearing a dress and did not have a pocket, so she brought a little purse she and I wove together a few years ago. They went to our neighborhood park and saw some ducks in the creek and rocks in the path and by the water. Daddy had fun helping them notice the differences between the rocks they found in different places. I enjoyed the time to myself and they loved their Rock Walk with Daddy!
Since then, we visited another nearby park for another Rock Walk and they collected a few more rocks to put in their pockets. Z-urchin and Shortstop just come along for the ride. We had just read the book Rocks! Rocks! Rocks! and they were very excited to know that erosion causes rocks to become smaller. Every time we found a small rock, they exclaimed that the wind or the rain must have been involved.
4. Toss some pebbles into a pond or lake.
In our case, we tossed some pebbles into the creek. Z-urchin, especially, really got into this activity.
5. Find a rock that will write on the sidewalk.
Princess K was astonished when she discovered that several of the rocks would write on each other. When she tried these rocks on our sidewalk, it didn’t work. We finally did find a rock that did write on our sidewalk and she was delighted.
We enjoyed our Rock Study Grid activities!