Backyard naturalists – get ready for spring…

Spring! It’s coming to a backyard near you, and I, for one, am going to be prepared this year. For the past few springs, I’d been half asleep when spring would arrive – mostly due to the fact that I was either pregnant or trying to cope with toddlers. Having three of them in 3.5 years will do that to you.

But this year, it’s different. I feel like I’m waking up from hibernation myself. A three year long hibernation – no, make that a 3 year and 9 month long hibernation. With my youngest being 3 in April, we are going to be able to do a lot more things. For one, she can ride a little toddler bike now. Last year she could barely ride a tricycle, and after one day out…

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I’m so proud! I’m thinking of getting a bike too so that we can take advantage of the bike trail they made around our local park.

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But in addition to the physical exercise we’ll all be able to get, I am preparing our girls to be backyard explorers.

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I have my list of supplies.

Binoculars – check
Magnifying glass – check (though to be fair, I might need to get 2 more).
Bug habitats – check and check (one plastic, and one empty fishtank)
Tree identifying field guide – check
Bird identifying field guide – check
Digital camera – check
Basket for collecting nature samples – check

A great idea comes from Coastal Girl using a painted egg carton to help reinforce color recognition as well as teaching sorting objects by color.

Powers of observation – check, check, check, and check (one mom and three children)

Notebook – well, not quite, but we will get one soon.

Internet resources – here are three good ones: The Green Hour, Backyard nature , and this one about nature journals.

It’s definitely not too early to start looking for signs of life out here in the midwest. My eldest daughter found an acorn our backyard today, the first day it’s been warm and dry enough back there to go out. This is an important discovery because 1) we have zero trees in our backyard and immediate neighbors don’t either, and 2) the yard has been covered in snow just a few days ago. So you know that nut was most likely some critter’s lunch.

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