By Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann
Lazy summer days are perfect for getting outside, where your child can experience nature firsthand by watching a caterpillar, chasing butterflies, or searching for birds’ nests.
Take a stroll through a local nature preserve or hike a nearby trail. On your walk, point out different wildlife, flora, and fauna — and introduce your child to the Latin and colloquial names for animals and plants if you know them. ("These purple flowers are lupinus, but we call them lupins.") Explain what animals eat, whether they’re nocturnal or diurnal (sneak in those big word when you can), and how plants “eat” sunlight.
Encourage bug-loving kids to go on hunts in your backyard or at the neighborhood park. First Hand Learning provides printable mini-journals for kids to document their observations while exploring the great outdoors.
If you’re hitting the road, combine your family vacation with learning at a national park. And if you can't get there this year, take a virtual visit (you can “do” Yosemite National Park online, too).
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