As we spend more time at home, it’s more important than ever to get outside! To continue your outdoor education and exploration, the Wright-Locke Farm Education team has compiled some great resources and activities you can do in your local outdoor space.
Use this 60-second exercise to ground yourself in a sensory exercise! Take your time with each step (10-15 seconds each). Great for kids and adults alike.
- Thumb. Take a deep breath in through your nose, out through your mouth.
- Shoe. Plant your feet flat on the ground. Feel the earth beneath you.
- See. Look around you and count five things
- More. Close your eyes and tune into three different sounds.
- We’re alive. Take another deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Check in with your body and notice any sensations you feel.
Try mixing up arts and crafts by collecting natural materials to use as your paint brush! Experiment with different patterns using leaves, pine needles, and any other fun materials you can find. When finding these materials, search for items that have already fallen on the ground. Chances are there are plenty of natural-textures that have naturally fallen off!
Let us know what you make! Send your finished products to Jack (email@example.com).
Take some scratch paper and something you can write with and find a spot outside that calls to you. Spend a few minutes in that space noticing what you see, feel, hear, and smell! After a few minutes in that space, feel free to express yourself on the paper, whether you’re drawing, journaling, or just doodling.
While out, be sure to practice “Leave No Trace” principles. See if you can even leave the outdoors better than when you found it by collecting litter you find.
Head outside and find the smallest creature you can! This may take a few minutes of quietly sitting still to notice the movement all around us. Be sure to check under rocks, on plants, and in the dirt!
You can also try setting a timer for 60 seconds to count how many living things you can see in a contained area on the ground.
Gently sprinkle sand or flour around a place where you think animals likely frequent. Return each day to check for footprints. See if you can identify the tracks!
Courtesy of Kestrel Education Adventures.
Try setting up a bird feeder and see who visits you. Depending on ages, draw or describe a favorite bird that visits. Try identifying the type of bird and any unique behaviors they display. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has some great educational activities as well.
Draw a simple map of your apartment/house, yard, or another space available to you. Hide a penny and mark the spot on your map. Then, give the map to your kids and see if they can find the hidden treasure!
Looking for something to do? Head outside with your little one to build a fairy house! Fairies only like houses made out of natural materials, so be on the lookout for building materials such as acorns, pinecones, bark, branches, rocks, and leaves.
All of the materials that you’ll need have probably already fallen on the ground! Play your part in protecting the outdoors and try not to pull anything off of living plants.
Did you know that you can turn your own food scraps to plants? This is a great activity to understand plant anatomy. Things that we may see as “undesirables” in our food (seeds in an orange, pepper, or avocado, for example) can actually grow into plants with just a little assistance. Try saving a few seeds from the next piece of produce you do and dry out the seeds (placing in some sunlight for 24-48 hours). Next, plant the seeds in some soil (inside) and give your to-be plant some water! Soon enough, you should have a plant growing!
Some seeds (from things like mangoes, avocados, etc.) may require some extra care. Read this guide to learn!
Explore the carbon cycle and how we can reduce our production of climate change-causing greenhouse gases. Talk with your family about how carbon is stored in living things (such as trees, plants, and soils) and how our actions contribute carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere. While we need some carbon dioxide, humans are making too much, which causes global temperatures to rise. There are changes we can make to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere! Our scavenger hunt shows some of these actions. Spend some time outside (and inside) finding each of the squares on our scavenger hunt!
In this section, Farm educators will add mini-lessons and anecdotes focused around outdoor education. These “tidbits” are meant to inspire your own curiosity while sharing some interesting parts of the outdoors! Be sure to check the dropdown below for past entries as well.
In most of our education programs on the farm, we use farm-fresh ingredients to prepare a daily “farm snack”! One of my favorite snacks is egg frittatas. While I’m not at Wright-Locke Farm now, I do have access to farm-fresh eggs, so I gave this recipe a try at home (check the video out here!)
This recipe is really simple and great for all ages to help with! If your family decides to make this, I encourage you to consider a couple questions with your little one(s):
- Where did your eggs come from?
- Do all chickens lay eggs?
- How can you tell a rooster from a hen?
- If you add veggies or herbs, what part of the plant is it? (Fruit, seed, leaf, etc.)
- What kind of animal did your cheese come from?
To see how I made this recipe, check out the video here. Give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes!
Earlier this week, when I was walking through some open fields, I noticed the bright colors of this curled up millipede. I bent down to get a closer look and noticed the millipede’s vibrant orange pattern–a common warning to predators that this creature is toxic. For this reason, I was careful not to handle this millipede with my hands. After taking a couple photos, I returned inside and did a quick search online to identify this millipede as Apheloria virginiensis, a common millipede in the Northeast US.
I was glad that I didn’t try to pick this millipede up! As I suspected, this species of millipede does have a self-defense mechanism–when handled (or eaten), these millipedes produce hydrogen cyanide, a toxic gas. While the gas would probably not cause significant harm to a human, it’s certainly enough to deter a bird or frog that may try to eat it!
I was excited to find something out of the ordinary, and even more engaged as I learned about this specific species of millipede. I encourage you to head outside and take a look around. See if you can sense anything (seeing, hearing, and smelling) that you haven’t noticed before–and let me know what you find!