Quick Picks from CMCL

February 20, 2014

Kid’s Corner: Backyard Scientists

Opportunities for encouraging scientific thinking are all around us. Create an atmosphere that encourages your children to go beyond one-dimensional learning- to be engaged learners. Challenge your kids to ask questions, make predictions, observe the world around them, experiment and make mistakes. In other words encourage them to be scientists!

Late winter is a great time for kids watch neighborhood wildlife. Here are some books to inspire your family.


Squirrels by Trudi Strain Trueit

Birds by Trudi Strain Trueit

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
This fun story about a family of Snow people is a great jumping off point for collage projects and for creative ways to feed backyard wildlife. Ages 4-8.

Birds by Kevin Henkes
A little girl observes the colors, shapes, sounds, and movements of the many different birds she sees through her window. Ages 3-8.

For the Birds: the Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas
Roger Tory Peterson loved observing and drawing birds. He grew up to be an artist, activist, environmentalist and creator of Peterson Field Guides. Ages 8 to adult.

The boy who drew birds : A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies
As a boy, John James Audubon loved to watch birds. There he took a particular interest in peewee flycatchers. While observing these birds, John James became determined to answer a pair of two-thousand-year-old questions: Where do small birds go in the winter, and do they return to the same nest in the spring? Ages 4-8.

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter
Before she was a famous primatologist, Jane Goodall was a curious girl who loved observing animals in her yard. Ages 4-8.

Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette Cate
A humorous introduction to bird-watching encourages kids to get outdoors with a sketchbook and really look around. Ages 8-12.
National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America by Jonathan alderfer
Profiles one hundred bird species living from coast to coast. Includes information on bird calls, habitat range and bird behavior. Ages 7-9.

The Reading Rockets website has a great series called Literacy in the Sciences that gives great ideas to inspire kids and families to observe and explore the world around them.

Outdoor Explorations The simple activities of playing in the backyard or taking a neighborhood walk are perfect opportunities to help your child develop the skills of observing, predicting and investigating.

Recording Observations: Journals and Field Notes Let your child of any age have fun recording what they see outside with writing, drawing, or scribbling in a notebook.

Pinecone bird feeder This easy birdfeeder is fun to make with kids of all ages.

Toilet paper tube binoculars Make observing even more fun with a pair of tp tube binoculars!

Jenny F., Youth Services

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