Ben and I had our first Nature Club class of the year this week. We are spending time in nature with 2 other families twice a month. This is our 3rd year learning together with the Veal and Shauntee families. We are so grateful for their friendship!
We decided that to kick off our year of nature-learning, we would learn more about creeks, using the Incredible Creeks NaturExplorers unit. If you haven’t used these nature unit studies before, be sure to check them out. They are wonderful!
One of the favorite spots for our club is a local park where a creek runs through. We have spent many hours playing, exploring, wading, and watching here. So that’s where we began our creek study this week. We learned where the creek head was and that it eventually empties into the Ohio River. It didn’t take the kids long to surmise that the water where were playing in today might eventually make its way into the ocean via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers!
Unfortunatley, as I gathered the kids together to read The Brook Book, Ben was stung twice by a mean ole wasp, on the neck and hand. Of course it hurt a lot and he was very upset. His hand began swelling rather quickly. I happened to have some ice (McD’s sweet tea!), so we got ice on it pretty quickly and then headed to a nearby Walgreens for some Benadryl while one of the other moms took over reading the book. It wasn’t long until Ben was feeling better and we were right back joining in with the studies.
After reading and discussing the basics of creeks, the children were sent on a mission to determine if the creek we were studying was healthy. Incredible Creeks has a lovely print-out with a checklist of things to look for to help with this determination. We were all thankful to find that our creek was indeed healthy!
We then used the scavenger hunt, also printed from Incredible Creeks, to find common things found around creeks and rivers. The kids found things like signs of humans, insects, deciduous trees, something decomposing, and many other fascinating treasures. The kids had a blast with the scavenger hunt, sometimes working in teams, sometimes working alone, always sharing the more difficult finds (mushrooms). Both of these print-outs were added to our nature journals.
Once the scavenger hunt was complete, the wading boots and swim trunks were put to good use as they grabbed plastic cups to work on catching some critters for closer observation. They were able to see many small fish, tadpoles, crawfish, squirrels, birds, and dragonflies. They were able to catch a dragonfly and a crawfish. It was fun transferring these amazing creatures into a glass jar and then looking at them close up. Buggy eyes, gossamer wings, pinchers, fun, fun, fun!
We ended our day with some quiet time drawing in our Nature Journals. The kids each found a spot and something to draw. Flowers and trees seemed the most appealing this first day.
What a great day we had!
Our next Nature Club will involve apple picking, so stay tuned.