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Observe: Insect Activity

What cool insect, arachnid (spider), or mollusk (snail) activity can you find around your yard? Has your child watched a spider spin a web? How about ants marching along on a mission? What about a snail eating a plant? Give your child the time and space to observe these small creatures in their natural environment……

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Kid Science: Make a Seed Viewer

Seeds… how incredible that plants of all sizes can grow from such a tiny thing.  If you’ve gardened with a young child, you’ve witnessed their fascination and wonder at the mystery of plants.  To give your child the opportunity to actually witness the growth of a plant from the first roots shooting out of the…

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Kid Science: Owl Pellet Dissection

Owls are fascinating creatures.  They have a special organ (gizzard) that stores the undigestible parts of their prey, preventing these parts (bones, teeth, fur, feathers) from proceeding through the digestive tract.  The gizzard compresses these parts into a pellet which is later regurgitated.  This is a pretty simplistic explanation.  If you’d like to learn more,…

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Great book! Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism

In preparation for Earth Day next month, I’m currently reading a wonderful book… Friends of the Earth:  A History of American Environmentalism by Pat McCarthy.   The book, written for children ages 9 and up,  introduces the efforts, struggles, and triumphs of men and women (scientists, artists, authors, naturalists) who dedicated their lives to protecting the…

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Rockin’ Experiment 3: Make Metamorphic Cookies

The final project in our three-part geology series, tailored for early elementary aged kids, is about metamorphic rocks.  The focus of this experiment is to show “rocks” can change through heat, compression, and time.  The “rocks” in this project are actually cookies.  We made cookies, making some observations about the “minerals” (ingredients) we put into…

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It’s Earth Science Week!

Earth Science Week is going on right now, this week, October 14th-20th.  This international “event” is put on by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) “to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth.”  Sounds like a great time to teach our kids a…

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Devils Postpile National Monument

If you’re ever in the Eastern Sierras near Mammoth Lakes, you’ve gotta check out Devils Postpile.  This place is incredible, and unlike anywhere else I’ve visited in California.  The only other place I can personally compare it to is the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.  Both places have these fascinating basalt hexagonal columns.  You have…

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Project FeederWatch

As I wrote the other day (Let’s Count Stars!), we enjoy participating in citizen science projects.  It’s a fun way to contribute to scientific research and learn about science at the same time.  I wrote earlier in the week about participating in the Great World Wide Star Count.  Perhaps stargazing isn’t your thing, but you’d…

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I’m always on the lookout for citizen science projects that would be fun to do with my son.  I believe it’s a great way to teach science and get kids involved in a real-life project.  Of course, this isn’t just for kids!  Participating in citizen science projects is a wonderful way for people of all…

The Hungry Owl Project

I have to preface this post by stating that we live on the edge of our city, on the border where the houses meet the open grasslands and oak forests beyond.  We love living here because of the views and the wildlife that visit us.  However, we’re not fond of one visitor… the rats.  No…

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Exploring the Ringtail Cat Trail, Las Trampas, Alamo

Another great Outdoor Discoveries outing!  Today, the naturalist took the kids up the Ringtail Cat Trail into Las Trampas Regional Park for a “beanstalk lunch hike” to learn about vines.  This is another of my favorite trails in the area, especially on a hot summer day, as the trail winds above a creek through a…

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Birding with Kids, Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton

Since the week my son turned three, we’ve been attending the East Bay Regional Parks Outdoor Discoveries program, a naturalist-led class designed specifically for three-five year-old children.  Each outing includes a hike and plenty of time for observation, exploration, and play.  To make the classes even more fun, I always invite friends from my Nature…

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“Awesome”… “Wow!”…

Quotes from my son while viewing the solar eclipse last evening at the Lawrence Hall of Science in the Berkeley hills… I figure he’ll be seventeen for the next solar eclipse… have to experience these moments while we can!! Related articles 40 Awesome Photos Of The Solar Eclipse (buzzfeed.com) Trans-Pacific ‘ring of fire’ eclipse wows…

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Gardening with Grandpa

Over the weekend, we went to Sacramento to help my parents plant their vegetable garden.  The garden has historically been my mom’s project.  However, as my parents have become older (they are now entering their 80’s), the yard work has become more difficult for them.  My mom uses a walker, and getting down to the…