This week, we have spent a good deal of time outside completing our October Colors & Textures Grid from The Outdoor Hour Challenge. We’ve enjoyed the activities and the sunny, warm, and breezy weather.
We started by finding a leaf that has more than one color. I sent the kids on a treasure hunt to find leaves with more than one color on them and they returned with all sorts of leaves. We found red and brown leaves, red and yellow leaves, red and green leaves, brown and yellow leaves, and green and yellow leaves.
We arranged some of the leaves we collected into a beautiful colorful leaf collage on the grass.
We looked around at tree trunks, searching for different colors of tree bark. Most of the trees we saw were gray. However, we did find some tall redwood trees- with reddish brown bark- lining the walkway at the entrance to our neighborhood park. Finally, we saw a stark white tree with no leaves at all. The kids had never seen- or perhaps never noticed- a white tree before and they thought it was pretty funny. They were also very interested in a gray barked tree that had bright yellow patches of lichen all over it. They thought that was pretty funny too.
The next day, we went to another park and after playing and running around, we got down to nature study business. I sent the kids on another treasure hunt. This time for smooth or soft things and rough or prickly things. They scattered for the hunt and came back with some interesting treasures. Some very prickly seed shell things and some very smooth seeds and acorns. When we got back home, we used the Internet and our tree field guide to discover what these seeds were.
To our surprise (since they did not find the prickly seeds shells and the smooth brown seeds together), the prickly seed shell was the outer husk of the smooth, shiny seed we had. Both of these belong to the California Buckeye Tree. X-ma drew a whole diagram in his nature journal explaining the relationship of these seed shells and and seeds to the tree and to each other. The other seeds we found looked like long tapered acorns, and were in fact the long tapered acorns of the Valley Oak Tree.
They also found something soft– the seeds of dandelions. They definitely felt the innate impulse to blow those dandelion seeds in the breeze.
We made some bark and leaf texture rubbings for our nature journals and they both were intrigued by the leaves we collected and peered closely at them with their magnifying glass. X-man was trying to discover what made the back of his leaf so soft. Princess K wanted to look more closely at the brown spots on her yellow leaves.
Finally, we found all sorts of dried leaves. And then we gathered up as many as we could into a big pile and jumped into them! I jumped right in with the kids and smelled the aroma of fallen leaves in the autumn and was enchanted by the experience. Enchanted, refreshed, and renewed. This is the beauty of nature study- exhilarating, rejuvenating fun for the whole family.