Play Outside - Notice Nature

Noticing Nature – November

Are you starting to notice? There are many changes happening in my neck of the woods in November. This month, it’s all about LEAVES!

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Looking out my backdoor, many changes are currently taking place in my backyard. For one, those slimy little tree frogs are no longer on my door. I’m not seeing as many insects as I did last month. The dragonflies that were so abundant are now gone. The yard is full of leaves. I stopped to look at some of the leaves crunching under my feet. Some I could easily identify, but many I could not. I started to think about things we can identify at a glance.

Take brands for instance. Without even thinking about it, we are quick to identify logos such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Nike, and Apple. I can spot a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts logo a mile away when visiting a new place, looking for that cup of coffee! It was probably no more than a generation ago, people could name every tree in their yard. What used to be common knowledge is now becoming lost.

(No copyright infringement is intended).

Take 5 Challenge!

Can you identify five different trees in your neighborhood? For some, this challenge is too easy, but many will struggle. Why not get your teens (and yourself) to learn to identify five trees this month? If you already know five, then double it! A few of the most common in my area are: Red Maple, Sweet Gum, Yellow Poplar, Magnolia, Hickory, River Birch, Oak, Loblolly Pine, and many others. You may want to check out this article, as it gives a wealth of information about fifteen common survival trees.

A good starting point is with a tree identification guide. I’ve had this one for years! Maybe your teens and tweens, (or perhaps yourself ) prefer an app. I’m still in love with Seek by iNaturalist. I wrote about my new find in last month’s post. Whatever you use, set a small goal of learning to identify just five trees for the remainder of the month.

Trees and Art

There’s nothing much sweeter than your little ones artwork. I still have most of them from preschool days long ago. I miss the days of handprint turkeys, but now that I have teens I’ve found some really cool art projects. Art that goes far beyond a spot on the refrigerator. I like to find things that will bring beauty or add usefulness in our home, and I’ve found that we can make art that really looks as nice as the things I’ve seen in stores. Things that could even be gifted. I’ve also found that I enjoy the art projects more than they do. And that’s ok, because homeschool mamas may find a creative outlet that they didn’t even know existed!

This one has been on my Pinterest board for sometime, and it was so much fun to make! You can find the full set of instructions here.

I also intend to try this charcoal art print before the month’s end. I typically enjoy colorful projects, but I was drawn to the simplicity of this one. My first experience with charcoal was last month, when I reviewed Creating A Masterpiece. Perhaps the kids will join me this time!

Notice Nature with a Scavenger Hunt!

Young and old alike love scavenger hunts! With teens, possibly turn it into a race. I’ve put together of list of 10 leafy things to hunt for the next time you’re in the woods! Be sure to grab your free printable at the bottom of this post!

  • Find 5 different leaves and identify them using a guide or app
  • Largest leaf you can find
  • Smallest leaf you can find
  • Longest leaf you can find
  • Find leaves of brown, green, red, orange, yellow
  • A leaf with serrated edges
  • A lobed leaf
  • A leaf with smooth edges
  • A multi-colored leaf
  • An evergreen leaf
  • Bonus: Grab a few extra leaves and make a leaf person or animal. Don’t forget to name it!

Pssssst….. These Go Find It cards would make a great stocking stuffer for multiple age families!

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