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Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer Bugs - Butterflies


Welcome back to another installment in our Summer Bugs series.  This time around we studied butterflies. 
We were thrilled to have an indoor butterfly garden.  When our caterpillars arrived in the mail, we began our watching and waiting. About five days later, they formed their chrysalis.  We pinned the cloth holding the chrysalis in the protected netting area and just four days later our beautiful butterflies emerged.  Our neighbor was so kind to let us feed the butterflies from their butterfly bush.  After 3 days of observing our winged friends, we released them and they took flight toward our willow tree.  It was fascinating for everyone in the family to watch this transformation.  Such a wonder!
As in our previous bug studies, we found delightful books to read:
A delightful way to learn about the butterfly lifecycle with beautiful illustrations! It also includes tips in how to attract butterflies to your children's garden.

In this book an incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated in all of their beauty and wonder with lovely detailed illustrations.

For a fun recycle craft, visit my previous post on Paper Butterflies.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Visit the Nation's Treasures - For Free

This weekend we have an opportunity to connect with some of our greatest national treasures as the National Park Services celebrates Founder's Day.  On August 25 all fees are waived, and special programs will be available to the public. (Don't forget to ask for the Jr. Ranger Program.)

The National Park Service (NPS) began in 1872 with the founding of Yellowstone National Park.  With dedicated early leaders, the NPS grew into a highly esteemed organization dedicated to preservation and helping the public connect to its' resources. 

To find the park nearest you visit www.nps.gov.  If you are near Philadelphia, PA, come visit us at Independence National Historical Park as we open the new Benjamin Franklin Museum.  We are having special speakers, walking tours, and activities for families. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer Bugs Series: Ladybugs

Welcome back to another post in our Summer Bugs series.  After dragonflies, we went on to study ladybugs. It just so happens we found one in our house the day we began our lessons, a rare surprise where our insect visitors tend to be moths and spiders.

The Ladybug Lady website had all the coloring pages, pictures, and ladybug facts we could want.

The UK Woodland Trust NatureDetectives site has many, many fun ways to help children interact with nature including ladybug (ladybird in the UK) games, information, and id sheets.  Well worth a visit.

Join Project Noah.  A wonderful resource where people submit photos and information on everything from aphids to zebras.  The submissions are wonderful!

Find ladybug lesson plans from the Lost Ladybug Project.
Learn a bit from National Geographic
Fill in  a ladybug lifecycle worksheet or make a ladybug minibook.

We also found some fun books at our library about ladybugs:

Ladybug encounters many predators while hunting for food and searching for a winter home. Ladybug's bright red coloring helps to keep her safe, while she looks for food for the long winter ahead.

This is a great educational spiral-bound book that explores the life cycle of the ladybug and the world of insects, and includes transparent pages that reveal the ladybug life cycle.
Another great book to learn about the ladybug life cycle.
I had intended to have the boys paint black rocks to look like ladybugs and use them as paperweights, but it we never managed to do it. *sigh*
Next, we are moving on to butterflies...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dragonfly nymphs and waterscopes

 During our Summer Bug studies, we learned that dragonflies begin life as tiny water nymphs, so we made our own waterscopes and went exploring.

Summer is a great time to search for dragonfly nymphs. (When they are big enough, they crawl out of the water, latch on to a twig or stem to dry out.  Then they crawl out of their skin to emerge as beautiful dragonflies.)

We are off to the woods... 
with nets and waterscopes in hand.

Looking for dragonfly nymphs here...

and there.

We found one!


Evening has come. Time for the hike back
talking of our adventure all the way home. 

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