If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How do I help my child explore and get more comfortable in the outdoors?” or are simply looking for simple ways to build their excitement and curiosity about nature, you’ve come to the right place!
Below take a look at all of the different ways you can inspire your kids to explore, notice, and ask questions about the world around them this month.
All of these activities can be done somewhere outdoors near you, such as your backyard or neighborhood park, although the more wild the place, the better!
July is known for being HOT! Some creatures here love hot weather—especially reptiles—because they rely on the sun to heat up their bodies. Look around for a sunny spot and see if you can spot a turtle, snake, or lizard sunbathing (or imagine one being there!). Sit in the sun and talk about how the sunshine feels on your face and skin. You might start sweating, but reptiles aren’t able to sweat and have to move to the shade to cool down their bodies.
Leaves come in many shapes and sizes. How many different kinds of leaves can you find? Can you find two trees with the same shaped leaves?
July is a great time to notice the signs of young Froghoppers or Spittlebug nymphs that have mouths that poke into the stems of plants. Their mouth works like a straw and they suck out the plant's juices. They drink a lot of sap (plant juice). If YOU drank like a spittle bug you'd drink 26 gallons a day!
Spittlebug feeding doesn't usually hurt the plant. Nymphs pump bubbles into their excreted fluid (which is actually pee) to form what looks like bubbly spit. This bubble mass protects them from drying out and from predators.
Summertime is a great time to get out and explore. Can you find these shapes? Now make your own shapes. Use sticks, rocks, or leaves off the ground to build your own shapes. Help your youngster build the first letter in their name or their whole name!
Children (especially very young children) who spend more time learning outdoors have increased self-discipline and emotional well-being than those with little, or reduced, time in nature. Learn more about the benefits of engaging your child outdoors from the Children & Nature Network.
Get a full year of free access to all Pottawattamie County parks.Become a member of the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation