Category Archives: scouting

Gone to the Birds…& the stars

The boys attended a class at The Enviromental Education Center called “Wintertime Birds”. They learned to focus binoculars properly and identify certain winter birds. They filled the bird feeders and listened to bird calls. They learned information about other winter animals, fur and winter animal behavior. At home, we set up some bird feeders and a bird watching station (no one has a bird at the feeders yet). We are also completing some activities on eNature.com.

We will be participating in The Great Backyard Bird Count – maybe you’ll join us!

We also went to view “Wintertime Night Sky” at Raritan Valley Community College’s Planetarium. It taught us how to look for ‘asterisms‘ in the night sky. We got to see the sky at different times of night and it was really helpful – so helpful that we were able to come home and use our “Star Chart” and binoculars and actually find a bunch of stars we learned about – including Betelgeuse.

Sometimes kids just need a little exposure to something to get the wheels turning. Sometimes they don’t care less what they’ve seen. Sometimes it comes up days and weeks later in them asking for another class or books on a topic. I don’t see myself as my kids’ teacher, I’m their mother – and I choose to spend my time introducing them to all that’s out there.

“Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If he is not interested, it is like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.” ~ Katrina Gutelben

Trailside Nature and Science Center – Finally

We made it, and it was open. There are just so many interesting things to look.

This is an authentic replication of a bark house used by the Lenape Indians who inhabited the area. There was alot of artifacts to see and hold. There was plenty of information about the society, pictures and quiz yourself stations.

This was inside the nocturnal animals exhibit. It is a dark enclosure that runs about a 5 minute presentation on animals and insects that are out at night – really well done.

This tree was real – and was 518 years old! The green markers traced historical events through the rings of the tree growth. The center was estimated at 1420. Neat way to see history laid out.

What they saw today

Gavin has acquired a science/chemisty set he plans on looking at in the next couple of weeks. He assembled a “Bioscope” that came with it which magnified and using natural light, acutely lit whatever object was on the attached slide or in a small round container.

Items that made it into the bioscope: salt, pepper, wood splinter, a cicada, a cicada leg, a cicada wing, sand, soil and water from the fish tank.

A train ride

Ethan had off from school, so we rode the train just for fun. We left from the Dunellen station and went to Westfield. We got off for some Rita’s Italian Ice and then headed back home. They had a great time – now the baby is obsessed with ‘choo-choos’.