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Treasures: A Nature Basket

My son collects soooo many sticks, rocks, feathers, nuts, and other cool stuff during our outings that his “treasures” have become a bit overwhelming.  In order to provide a space for his favorite discoveries, I gave him a basket.  We call it his “nature basket”, and it’s where the best finds are kept. *** WordPress…

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Birding: American Kestrel

I’ve been spending a lot of time at home lately with my son, who’s now sick with his third cold (flu?) in four weeks.  Today we had to get out for some fresh air.  At around lunchtime, we heard our local Great Horned Owl hoo-hooing.  I know it isn’t a typical night-time owl walk, but…

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La Brea Tar Pits: Page Museum

Over the holidays, we made the trek down to Los Angeles to visit family.  As soon as my son heard we were going to LA, he screamed excitedly, “can we go to the La Brea Tar Pits??”  I thought for sure, his first interest would be Legoland, but, luckily for us, he didn’t bring it…

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It’s cold in California! Now let’s go play outside…

I’ve noticed a funny thing here in California (at least in the Bay Area).  When the temperature drops below 60F, kids disappear from the playgrounds.  This morning before school, the thermostat was still hovering around the freezing point, yet the kids who arrived early had a blast running around on the playground.  Really, parents, playing…

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5 Best Places to Bird Watch in the Bay Area

Thank you to guest writer, Ernie Allison, for sharing this article! *** Even though summer isn’t the peak season to witness a heavy migration, the bay area is still full of spots for birders to see some beautiful wild bird species. Whether you’re a local looking to quench your bird watching craving before the migration…

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Silent Saturday: Nature Journaling

“The most important thing we can teach our children is to observe well.” -Ernst Mayer, Evolutionary Biologist Learning about animal tracks and signs, and journaling their observations. *** An awesome, free, naturalist-led class! Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley *** Interested in learning more about nature journaling?  I highly recommend the book, Keeping a Nature Journal:  Discover…

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Solar Cooking Science: Melting Marshmallows

We had a bit of fun on Friday afternoon, melting marshmallows to make s’mores, using the Thames & Kosmos Solar Cooking Science kit. After a week of higher than 100 degree Fahrenheit heat, the weather finally cooled down to a high of 80 degrees on Friday…. cool enough for us to head outside for a…

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Organic Olallieberry U-Pick: Swanton Berry Farm, Pescadero

In addition to offering an organic strawberry u-pick, Swanton Berry Farms also grows fields of olallieberries and blackberries.  During our visit to the Pescadero area last week, we incorporated a bit of organic olallieberry picking. Curious what an olallieberry is?  It’s kind of like a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry, but not quite…

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Geology for Kids: Crystal Mining Excavation Kit

My son recently received the 4M Kidz Labs Crystal Mining science kit for his birthday.  He LOVES these excavation kits (see this post about a similar kit, also made by 4M.. Paleontology Play:  Dinosaur Skeleton Excavation Kit – Velociraptor). My son is super into rocks and minerals these days, so this was a timely gift. …

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Fun with Magnets: Geomag

We’ve used some fun magnet science kits in the past, but the way my son likes to play with magnets best is through building toys.  We have three different kinds… Magna-Tiles, Magformers, and Geomag. I credit my son’s strong understanding of geometric shapes to playing with these magnetic toys. Geomag building kits come with magnetic…

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Connecting Kids With Nature: How Grandparents Can Help

Are you a grandparent who would like to help connect your grandchild(ren) with the natural world?  Check out these great tips from Richard Louv…  Grand Ideas!  21 Great Ways Grandparents and Grandfriends Can Connect Kids to Nature.  What wonderful ways to bond! My dad and my son, then three, gardening together (Tip #9:  Create a…