“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." - Rachel Carson

Monday, October 22, 2012

Three Outside Activities for a Blustery Fall Day

Parachute Man

  • Plastic shopping bag
  • a pair of scissors
  • hole punch
  • yarn or string
  • a lightweight figurine
Pick a favorite lightweight figurine to be your skydiver. Take a plastic shopping bag and cut out a square shape (here you have to kind of experiment with the size and just guess what size square will most likely support your figurine). Once you've got your plastic square use a hole punch or pierce holes with a pair of scissors in each corner of the square. Cut 4 pieces of string each about a foot long and tie one end to each corner of the square and the other to the figurine. Crumple up the parachute and press it against the figurine, then find a high spot to drop your figurine! We let our parachute person fly from Rowan's bedroom window on the second floor of our house. It works best when one person stands down below to be the catcher and the other person tosses from above! 


  • 1 piece of cardstock
  • a pair of scissors
  • a ruler
  • a pin
  • a pencil with a good eraser
Pinwheels are also a fun and easy activity for a day like today. Find a piece of cardstock and make a square any size you'd like. Use a ruler to draw an X across the paper and then use something small and round to trace a circle shape in the middle of the paper in the center of the X. Next, cut each line of the X, but stop when you get to the outer edge of the circle. Gently bring the left corner of each segment into the center of the circle and poke a pin through all four corners and through the center of the circle. Then press this into the eraser of a pencil and voila! A quick homemade pinwheel you can test out in the wind!

 The Unnatural Trail

  • 5-10 plastic figurines or random small household objects
 This game is not at all dependent on a windy day, but last week Rowan and I had fun playing this game with her figurines outside. It is a game that Aaron and I used to play often with our students when we worked in environmental education. All you do is take 5-10 figurines or small household objects and place them in a partially hidden spot along a trail in the woods (or we just hid them along the front of the house in the flower bed). Then have your child walk along the trail and see if they can notice the "unnatural" objects hidden amongst the natural ones. Ask them how many they found. If they can't find the objects just by looking, they can go back through and use their hands to pull back leaves and branches and find the hidden toys. It's a great way to introduce the concept of camouflage to your kids, or to discuss what constitutes something from "nature."

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