Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Explore the Fascinating World of Ants


There are more than 12,000 species of ants in the world. They live on almost every landmass on Earth except Antarctica and a few small islands. Ants live in complex social groups called colonies. They have a four stage life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult. Ants communicate with chemical signals called pheromones. They use pheromones to lead other ants to food they find and find their way back to the colony after they are out looking for food.

Tell children they are going to be scientists and study ants! Start by asking children: Have you ever seen an ant? What did it look like? How did you know it was an ant? Where was it? What was it doing? Record children’s observations.

Have a collection of various food items prepared (bread, fruit, meat, grass, cheese, etc…). Explain to children that you are going to do an experiment to see which food items ants prefer. Divide paper plates into fourths with a marker. Allow children to choose four food items they think the ants will prefer. Ask them: What food items do you think the ants will most like to eat? Why do you think so?

Take children outside and go on an ant “hunt”. When you find ants or an anthill, place the plate(s) nearby and then sit back and observe. It may take a few minutes for the ants to find the food. Encourage the children to make observations about the ants while you wait. What do they look like? How do they move? How many ants are there?  Count the ants as they visit the food areas. Record the number and the food item. This is your data scientists! When you return to the classroom graph your results and discuss what you learned as a class.

To further the activity, create or purchase an ant farm for your classroom. Keep an ant journal and check on the ants and their activity daily.

For this and other great ideas, use Growing Up WILD’s “Ants on Parade”!

Helpful Links


Note: This blog will discontinue in late September. Sign up for the KinderNature Early Childhood email list to continue to receive activities and ideas like these.
 
 
 

 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Growing Up WILD Early Childhood Training - October 8

This workshop leads you out the door and provides hands on activities and resource materials to help you lead your own nature explorations. Growing Up WILD activities use age appropriate practices and concepts to build on children’s sense of wonder and invites them to explore nature and the world around them. Specially written for children 3-7, activities include sections to address many learning areas: math, science, language, literacy, health living, play, and creativity.

Growing Up WILD received the 2009 Family Choice Award and the 2011 Renewable Natural Resource Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award.

October 8, 2016
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Dallas County Extension (28059 Fairground Road, Adel)

Registration: Iowa Child Care Providers Training Registry - Click on Search Trainings, then search Reconnecting in the Title. Your enrollment will be complete when payment is made. The fees for service will be used to off-set direct expenses and to support Humans Sciences County Extension Program.
Registration Deadline: October 1, 2016
Cost: $10 (includes lunch, activity materials and 128-page guide)
Dress casually and appropriately for outdoor activities.

For more information, contact Myra Willms at 515-993-4281 or mwillms@iastate.edu.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Join the Iowa DNR at the 2016 Iowa State Fair


Stop by the Iowa DNR building to see the Iowa fish in the historic aquarium, have your questions answered, and take in a presentation in the beautiful courtyard.

Check out these presentations (the whole courtyard schedule is available at iowadnr.gov/IowaStateFair):

Thursday, August 11
Get Active, Get Healthy, Get Outdoors!

We’re kicking off our the fair at the DNR Building with a Q&A session with DNR Director Chuck Gipp in the morning, followed by several other events throughout the day. In the afternoon, bring the kids to the DNR courtyard to craft tools for your aspiring nature detectives.

Friday, August 12
Bring Nature to your Backyard

What’s all the buzz about pollinators? Join us on Friday to find out. Whether you’re listening to State Forester Paul Tauke field questions, or making seed bombs to attract pollinators to your backyard, be prepared to learn about Iowa’s little wonders.

Saturday, August 13
Come Fish with Us

Fishing Day in the courtyard begins with a question and answer session with Fisheries Bureau Chief Joe Larscheid, followed by an instructional presentation for kids who want to learn to fish. In the afternoon, you can get the scoop on primitive fish or get a close up look at real Iowa turtles.

Sunday, August 14
Wild in Iowa
|With appearances from live trumpeter swans and Iowa’s reptiles and amphibians, Sunday will be a wild day in the courtyard. At noon, join us for an activity teaching kids the best and safest ways to bring wildlife to your backyard.

Monday, August 15
Taking to the Field

Monday is the day of the hunt. Come by the courtyard to pick up information and expertise on a variety of hunting topics. Whether you’re training a new hunting dog, looking for the perfect hunting spot, or hoping to cook wild game of your own, find what you’re looking for here on Monday.

Tuesday, August 16
Iowa’s Habitat Heroes

We have a responsibility to respect and protect our natural habitats. Visit the DNR building for information on the newest and brightest ways of looking after Iowa’s natural wonders.  Celebrate Iowa’s tradition of responsibly managing our resources and hear about the next steps we can take as community to continue this cause.

Wednesday, August 17
Conservation Leaders Past and Present

With a highlight on the Civilian Conservation Corps, Wednesday will honor the accomplishments of Iowa’s great conservationists. At noon, enjoy the presentation of Eagle Scout projects in our courtyard, followed by a presentation on Ding Darling, famed Iowa cartoonist and conservation leader.

Thursday, August 18
Spend S’more Time in State Parks

Pick up some tips and tricks to getting the most from your local state park all day. Starting off with a Q&A from State Park Chief Todd Coffelt, Thursday is for everyone from State Park enthusiasts to future visitors. Don’t miss a dialogue about natural ways of warding off pesky mosquitoes at 1 p.m.

Friday, August 19
Come Fish with Us

The art of fishing is as intricate it is enticing, so come by on Friday for a second helping of fishing guidance and encouragement. Fisheries Bureau Chief Joe Larscheid returns for another discussion in the morning, and be sure to check out the live turtles native to Iowa in the afternoon. Kids are encouraged to join us at 11 a.m. for more fishing basics.

Saturday, August 20
ReusaPalooza!

Junk becomes art! In the morning, take part in a Q&A with Land Quality Bureau Chief Alex Moon. Give old stuff a breath of new life with crafty activities that upcycle junk to treasure for both kids and adults all day until 4 in the DNR courtyard.


Sunday, August 21
EXTREME Outdoors

Our final day will consist of educating the public on the extreme outdoors. Come by at noon to begin your quest to become a citizen scientist for Iowa’s resources. Join us anytime between 11-3 to take part in the adventure of building beautiful birdhouses.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Explore the Wonderful World of Worms

Take children outside to look for worms. Bring small shovels or old spoons and allow the children to help dig.  A great time to look for worms is after a rainfall. Ask them where they think worms might live. Dig there. Try several places.  Questions to ask: Do you think worms prefer wet or dry soil? Why? Do you think they prefer shade or sun? Why? How deep in the soil do you think worms live?

Carefully fill a clear plastic jar with 3 wide layers of soil alternated with 2 think layers of sand (soil, sand, soil, sand, soil). Spray each layer with a mist of water. Place a few worms in the jar. Cover with a layer of dead leaves. Remember, earthworms live in the dark underground so cover the jar with a dark cloth to make them feel at home. Set the jar where it will not be too warm, too cold, or disturbed. Check them after a few hours and each day. What happened to the neat layers of soil and sand? Return your guests to where you found them.

Try these fun ideas from the KinderNature website to continue your exploration of worms.

Spaghetti-Splash Worms
Mix 2-3 packages of cooked spaghetti, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and food coloring (optional) in a child’s wading pool. Children may want to play with the spaghetti with their hands, sit on it, or (as we tried) use a small slide to get right into the middle of it. Try other things like gelatin which is also a hit.

Worm Tracks
Dip string/yarn into paints and drag across construction paper.

Worm Collage
Make a Worm Collage with cooked whole wheat spaghetti. Give each child a paper plate. Ask them to arrange the noodles any way they wish. Tell them they are worms. The starch in the noodles will help the noodles stick to the plates when dry.


Note: This blog will discontinue in late September. Sign up for the KinderNature Early Childhood email list to continue to receive activities and ideas like these.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Goin’ on a Fishin’ Trip

Explore the wonderful world of fish as a class.  Set up an aquarium or fish bowl so children can watch how fish move, eat and breathe. Look at pictures of different fish, read books about fish and if possible visit a local fish hatchery, pet store or aquarium. Make a stuffed fish from paper and let the students paint their fish.

Take children on a fishing trip to a local lake or pond. Check out these simple tips for taking kids fishing to ensure a safe and fun experience for everyone. If possible have a fish fry with fish they caught (have back-up store bought or previously caught fish).  Allow children to taste the fish they caught.  

Fishing Permit
People over the age of 16 need a license to fish. Invite students to create their own fishing license using index cards, crayons, and other materials they choose.

One Fish, Two Fish
Designate 2 students as ducks. The remaining students are fish. Fish are scattered throughout the pond. When the music begins the fish “swim” around the pond. The ducks waddle around trying to tag the fish. If a fish is tagged he/she becomes a duck and tries to tag the fish. When the music stops all fish must freeze. The ducks continue to waddle around trying to tag the frozen fish. If a frozen fish moves while the music is stopped, he/she becomes a duck. When the music starts again, fish begin to swim. Continue until 2 fish remain. You can repeat the game with the last 2 fish becoming the new ducks.

Gyotaku – Japanese Fish Printing
Materials: real head, fins, scales and tail-on fish or rubber fish replica, paint, paper or fabric, paintbrushes

Instructions: Paint a thin layer of paint onto fish or replica, gently lay fabric or paper over the fish, pat to get full shape, remove paper or fabric.  Allow to dry.  Enjoy your very own Gyotaku fish print!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Growing Up WILD Early Childhood Training - July 16

This workshop leads you out the door and provides hands on activities and resource materials to help you lead your own nature explorations. Growing Up WILD activities use age appropriate practices and concepts to build on children’s sense of wonder and invites them to explore nature and the world around them. Specially written for children 3-7, activities include sections to address many learning areas: math, science, language, literacy, health living, play, and creativity.

Growing Up WILD received the 2009 Family Choice Award and the 2011 Renewable Natural Resource Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award.

July 16, 2016
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Wildhaven Ranger Campus (910 South Smith Street, Algona)
Registration:
Contact Mackenzie Johnson, ISU Extension, johnson7@iastate.edu, 712-240-0471
Cost: $30

Monday, June 27, 2016

Celebrate International Mud Day - June 29


Get muddy and have fun with these Mudluscious ideas from KinderNature.org.

Magic Mud
Put a scoop of cornstarch in a bowl. Add just enough water so you or your tot can stir. Press down on it. What happens? Pick some up in your hand and hold your hand still. Now what happens?
Skills developed: Observation skills, sense of touch, and language.

Paint with Mud
Use paint brushes, paper, and mud to paint pictures. Use different types of soil, using muffin tins for each type. Notice the different textures, colors and smells. Skills developed: Creative, language, sense of sight, and touch.

Sand Shakes
Fill a clear plastic jar with water and sand. Shake. Observe. What happens? Leave it sitting for a while and observe. What happened? Shake again. What happens? Skills developed: Thinking, language, observation skills, and gross motor.

Clean Mud
Tear up pieces of brown paper towels (or toilet paper) and put in a large plastic container. Add shavings of Ivory soap and water until desired consistency. Mix, squish, and squeeze. Make patties, pancakes, and pies! Skills developed: Creative, motor skills, sense of sight, and touch.