Here’s a super simple way to bring a little bit of nature indoors and teach kids a bit about ecosystems. Make a terrarium out of a jar from the recycling bin (we used a salsa jar) and a bit of moss and tiny plants from a shady area of your yard or nearby natural area.
This project is from the August 2019 issue of Wild Kids Magazine, a free printable nature magazine I put out for kids and their grown ups.
Fiona’s terrarium lived happily on our piano for nearly a year before it had withered enough to consign it to the compost pile and recycling bin. Don’t forget to mist it occasionally if it seems to be drying out a bit, and it can last much longer.
The March 2020 issue of Wild Kids Magazine is up!
For those who are new to the magazine, Wild Kids is a free monthly printable nature-based magazine that I publish as a nonprofit way to put some more good in the world. Each issue includes ways to learn and play in nature that month, foraging information, a weather tree to track the month’s weather, nature study pages and seasonal poems and activities. This year, I’m including vintage nature-themed cards each month, too (so far we’ve had butterfly fairies, birds and trees).
You can check out the March issue here.
Have you and your kiddos ever made spore prints? It’s easy to do and so fun — not to mention a bit educational!
Miss Fiona and I made some spore prints this month from wild mushrooms that big sister Rhiannon (Anna to you old time readers) found while hiking in the woods with our dog, Moose. The oyster mushrooms made white spore prints that looked beautiful on black construction paper, while the mysterious others (tentatively identified by hubby but I forgot what he thought they were) gave us some brown and grayish ones.
Spore prints from other mushrooms can be green, pink and more!
Mushroom hunters use spore prints to identify mushrooms, but they’re also just really fun to make.
I put instructions on how to make them in this month’s Wild Kids Magazine, a free nature magazine that I’ve been putting out this year. You can read it and find out more about spore prints there. Make sure to talk to kids about mushroom safety, and wash hands afterwards.
Have a magical week!
Here’s a fun little science and nature craft just in time for Halloween. The kids and I made shrunken apple heads this month and it’s been great fun watching them change over time.
All you need are some apples (we used imperfect ones off a generous neighbor’s tree), salt and lemon juice.
First peel your apples. You can leave a little on the top and bottom like a little hat and scarf.
Then give your child some carving tools (a chopstick, grapefruit spoon or pen knife all work well, depending on your child’s age and skill level with tools). You can trace your design first with a pen or pencil, if you like.
Carve out a face, making sure to make each feature large since they will shrink up and collapse somewhat.
Then mix up some salt and lemon juice and apply it all over, especially in the parts you’ve carved out. This will prevent mold and also protect them from getting too brown. If you like, you can talk to the kids about how salt has been used for thousands of years to preserve foods and other things, and how acids like lemon juice slow oxidation (browning caused by a chemical reaction when substances react with oxygen).
Now just put your apple heads somewhere to dry. Choose a location where you can watch them and keep up with how they change.