Looking for low cost ideas to add some STEAM to your week? How about bird safaris, plant identification chalk art, and/or making a permanent record of the animals and plants in your neighborhood?
Idea 1: Birdwatching Safari
Have you seen people putting stuffed animals in their windows or yards? Those are part of Teddy bear scavenger hunts for children. Take the idea to the next level: walk, bike or drive through the neighborhood looking for birds.
For more bird-related lessons and activity ideas, visit:
- Project Feederwatch
- All About Birds for bird identification tips
- The bird activities category here at Growing with Science
Extensions: If birds aren’t your thing, consider an insect safari.
Idea 2: Sidewalk Chalk Plant Identification
On the same vein, have you seen driveways and sidewalks decorated with chalk artwork and inspirational/positive messages? Wouldn’t it be cool to take those ideas and incorporate a little science? Leave chalk notes about plants you see.
In England, “rogue” botanists are using chalk to identify common plants along sidewalks (Guardian article gives details). As they emphasize, when people learn the name of plants they can find out more about them, such as how they provide nectar for pollinators or are food for butterflies.
Note: Make sure you have permission before applying chalk to sidewalks.
Idea 3: Make a Nature Notebook or Journal
A nature journal is a physical record of your observations.
Below, children’s science author Loree Griffin Burns shares a wonderful nature notebook that her children made when they were younger. She explains what they learned and gives suggestions for making your own.
Notice that they used both photographs and drawings.
You can choose either or a combination. Be sure to jot down your observations and date every entry, as well.
Idea 4: Start a Nature Blog
If you are more comfortable with the digital world, then keep you journal as a blog that you can share with friends and family. Some platforms — like Blogger and WordPress.com — can be free.
Firstly, it helps me remember the names of insects, especially those that I don’t see often. There are more than a million species of insects, so even experts need help.
Because I show the insects I’ve photographed that day or within a few days, it is also an archive of seasonality of insect appearance. For example, this week I noticed two damselflies in the back yard.
It is fun to look back over the posts and see what was happening.
Which ideas do you find appealing? Be sure to let us know if you try one or if you have other ideas to suggest.