Closer to Nature · Education · Family

Learning is Fun: Animal Sizes

Since Sausage was old enough to hold her own head up, Husband has sat her on his lap at his desk and showed her pictures of animals on the computer. She’s always been fascinated by nature and as she grew we moved her learning on from visual-only stimulation to actually learning facts about animals and the natural world. The internet is an amazing resource and we love nothing more than when Sausage asks us about something and we’re able to sit and learn together using websites we love, such as Wikipedia and the National Geographic site.

One thing that can be quite hard to explain is the actual sizes of different animals. Most kids don’t have a concept of how big things are, so Husband and I started actually measuring things out with Sausage. It’s a fantastic learning opportunity as not only are you quantifying the knowledge you’re passing on about animals, you’re getting them involved with using numbers, tools such as tape measures and best of all, it fires the imagination like nobodies business!

Now that the weather is nicer, we’ve taken the game outdoors and have started marking things out in chalk, so whenever Sausage wants to know how tall or long something is, we mark it out on the patio. However, our patio is only so big, so we’re planning to take our tape measures to the park to measure out some of the larger creatures, like species of dinosaurs and whales!

What you’ll need.

All you need to do this at home is a patio, a tape measure, some chalk and the internet. Encourage your kids to think of different animals to look up, get them involved in measuring them out and drawing the lines. We’ve had hours of fun doing this and it’s free, educational and really fun if you get your imagination involved.

Starting left to right, the smallest line is Sausage’s height, for context. The next line is the wingspan of a golden eagle (Sausage was blown away that a bird could have wings wider than her height, which led to a conversation about other birds that are even bigger). The third line, in blue, is the average length of a bottle-nose dolphin and the longest line is the average length of a large species of crocodile!

This is a great activity for kids and you don’t even necessarily need good weather to play it (though it’s so nice to get some fresh air finally). We often measure the heights of things and I had fun standing on the arm of the sofa with Husband stopping me from falling off, to show Sausage how tall a particular species of pre-historic ape was! You can even get a stepladder involved to show the really tall things, just mind your head on the ceiling!

Another method of quantifying things for them is to weigh all of the members of the family and write them on a piece of paper (I recommend doing it in kilos as most animals weights are in kilos and it’ll save you having to do all of the conversions!). Using the “think of an animal…” starting point, get them to think of a creature, look up their weight and get the kids to work out how many times bigger than them the animal is, or how many times bigger than Mummy or Daddy, or Mummy plus Daddy, etc. It’ll get them exercising their maths skills and get the imaginations going even wilder!

Sunday

Closer to Nature

Closer to Nature – Moon Corner

Yesterday, I had to go and pay a cheque into the bank and as it’s only a ten minute walk and it was a nice day, I took a wander during my lunch hour. On my way, I spotted this little mosaic which was pretty run down and overgrown, but striking nonetheless. I loved the way that it looked as though the earth was reclaiming it again and there was something a bit spiritual about it, especially as I noticed it was called ‘Moon Corner’.

I couldn’t believe I’d never noticed it before and was excited to tell Husband about it when I got home. I barely got the word ‘mosaic’ out before he said “Yeah, that’s Moon Corner, it’s been there for years”. I did a quick Google search and didn’t come up with much info about it, other than one piece which said it had been made in collaboration with the Zimbabwean community, but I don’t know how true that is.

So, for my first ‘Closer to Nature’ in AGES, I give you Moon Corner, which may not be a natural occurrence but it certainly looks like nature is taking over once more.

 

 

So. I’ve shown you mine. Now it’s your turn to show me yours!

Mum's the Word

Closer to Nature · Photos

Closer to Nature

This weeks Closer to Nature comes courtesy of a very industrious spider, a beautiful morning dew and the macro setting on my camera, which is my favourite setting to play with. I took a few photos which worked with varying degrees of success but I still couldn’t choose my overall best so I thought I’d show you them all:

If you have any wonderful photos of anything nature related, link up below. There’s badge code that you can grab in the sidebar too.

 

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Mum's the Word

Closer to Nature

Closer to Nature

Now that Sausage is at school, I’m getting back into the swing of regularly blogging, which includes putting the Closer to Nature linky on here in a timely fashion!

My photo this week was taken in my Mum’s garden on Sunday afternoon, and is actually capturing a scientific phenomena as we witnessed it! We called it a ‘rainbow cloud’, but it’s real name is a ‘circumhorizontal arc‘, and Wikipedia describes it as “A circumhorizontal arc is an optical phenomenon – an ice-halo formed by plate-shaped ice crystals in high level cirrus clouds.” The bizarre thing is, the sun isn’t supposed to be high enough in the sky for it to happen in the UK in late August, but it certainly seems to be one when compared with the pictures shown on their page.

My Mum’s dog Ralph had to be put to sleep recently, so she’s taking it as a gift from him from Rainbow Bridge.

So, now it’s your turn. If you have any photos from the last fortnight containing anything from nature, post it and link up below, we love looking at everyone else photos and they all get pinned to our ‘Closer to Nature’ Pinterest board.

Closer to Nature · Photos

Closer to Nature – Photo Linky

I’ve been totally slack with getting a Closer to Nature post up the past couple of weeks, so apologies to anyone who’s been patiently waiting to link up any nature photos! Here’s my photo for this week:

I took a photo of this moth, sitting on our living room wall, a couple of weeks ago and fiddled about with contrast and lighting in Picasa and I think it came out rather well! We’ve had something of a moth infestation this summer, but I read in the news that that’s happening because of their woodland habitats being levelled, so I didn’t begrudge them a place to sleep. I do have a couple of items of clothing with holes gnawed in them though, which takes the mickey a bit!

So, now it’s your turn, I want to see your nature snaps and you can use the widget below to link up. The rules and details are here if you need them.

 

Mum's the Word