Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Outdoor Hour Challenge #3

Yesterday's Outdoor Hour Challenge was to find something in nature to draw. Aidyn snoozed way past normal, and I made 'Neat and Square' chocolate pancakes a la Mike Mulligan so I was sure a nature walk just was not going to happen.

Although I had informed him that it would be a quick walk, taking our time proved inspiring.

We walked around, trying to decide what to sketch. We eventually watched a colony of red ants soldiering around. These guys were HUGE and walked like beasts. Because the goal was to eventually draw them, we observed them quite a bit longer than we ordinarily would.

There were some poor little ants that looked like they showed up to the wrong  family reunion, but we just watched how they all seemed to get along.

After I had finally asked, "So are these red ants what you'd like to draw?" he said, "No, I want to bring something in the house with us."

Nearby, he found a small log, just resting on the ground. Turning it over, he quickly found that the damp part of it was home to a family of pill bugs. Even though Aidyn was startled, he was so excited and watched them scurry, saying, "I wanna draw these!"

On our way home, he asked me what pill bugs eat, where they like to live, if we can have one as a pet, etc. As usual, I had little knowledge of the pill bug but told him we would definitely find out.

As Aidyn drew in his nature journal, I found a pill bug site for kids and shared with Aidyn that:

  • pill bugs are the only crustaceans that live entirely on land
  • pill bugs eat rotting vegetation
  • pill bugs enjoy moist environments
(::GASP:: "We found them under a wet log!)

  • pill bugs have 7 pairs of legs
  • pill bugs have armor
  • pill bugs have antennae
  • pill bugs do not spread disease or contaminate food
What has surpised and delighted me about these outdoor hour challenges is that we never know what we'll find or what questions these walks inspire. I also realize how little I know about nature and the holes in my own education. Every day I say at least once, "I don't exactly know, but we can find out!" Nature walks also help with calming and grounding us for the whole day. We both have better attitudes and more patience.

Keep checking back for more Outdoor Hour Challenges, and maybe start your own at The Handbook of Nature Study blog.

To read about our other Outdoor Hour Challenges, visit Our Outdoor Hour Challenges.

1 comment:

  1. I am loving reading what you and Aidyn get up to during your Outdoor Challenges and you have just taught me a lot about pill bugs! What a lovely way to start your day - well second to chocolate pancakes that is!