A Backyard Nature File
by Carolyn Allen
To help your child learn about the nature in your backyard, make a list of the trees, animals, birds and insects that you see on a regular basis. Split the list up between your children, if they can read and write, otherwise do it for them. Using 3x5 cards, find pictures or draw each item on a card. You can use the cards in several ways. One half of the card can be used for writing a description of the nature item, and the other half can be used for writing your children's observations of that thing. For example, find a picture of a maple tree and glue it to the front of the card. On the back, jot down information on the maple from library books or encyclopedias. Then talk about what your tree is like; how tall, the size of the leaves, and the changes they notice during the year.
This can be as elaborate as you wish it to be, depending on the age of your children. The cards can be stored in a 3x5 card file, which can be decorated and kept where they can jot down new observations. You can set up a "station" with nature books, pencils, binoculars, and the card file. It's a great family project and teaches organization, observation and research skills.
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