The Mad Scientist: The Hunt is On

It is I, the mad scientist! Join me and my minions as we study some of God’s amazing creatures; learning tons of fun facts along the way.

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Summer_ScienceThe weather is too beautiful to remain indoors all week long. I think it is high time we got on some walking shoes and explored the world of birds!

To help us on our quest, head over to Home School Creations and take a look at THIS awesome Bird Nature Study Printable. These sheets will help us get the most out of our adventure. (Jolanthe has a superb list of bird activities, printouts, and more which you might want to peruse as well. She is a valuable source for research and information.)

For our purposes, we will simply snag the Bird Nature Study sheets and head into the wild unknown. (Okay, not so unknown. We’ve actually gone to this park before, but it’s been a very long time.)

Our field trip (and science lesson) for the week is going to be at Descanso Gardens. They have wonderful walking paths, a hedge maze for the littles, a rose garden for mom, and a fairly decent sized lake for bird watching. At the lake, there are helpful guides to assist with your bird watching endeavors. We will use these, along with our printouts, to explore the world of birds.

Polly Wanna Cracker?

If you are not able to head into the great outdoors or have no nature center nearby, consider checking out Birds of the Bible for Kids; right here on WordPress! Birds of the Bible is an incredible resource; they have so much to offer. Daily posts are uploaded with helpful information and resources about various birds mentioned in the Bible. If you haven’t already started following them, you are definitely missing out!

There you have it. Simple and sweet. The perfect way to study God’s creatures, get some exercise, and make memories. Bird watching! Now; go have some fun…

Time to Chime In: Are you a bird watcher? We are thinking of putting up a hummingbird feeder; any tips you can give us?

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The Mad Scientist: Bird Brains

It is I, the mad scientist! Join me and my minions as we study some of God’s amazing creatures; learning tons of fun facts along the way.

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Summer_ScienceSeveral years ago, we bought our little “Mouse” parakeets. Since their introduction into our home, she has learned so much about caring for her little friends and been dedicated in training them to be people friendly. In their honor, we will spend the next two weeks learning a little more about our winged friends!

As always, it is best to start at the beginning. Our first lesson is to review the life cycle of birds. To spice things up a little, we can focus on birds that ‘break the mold’, such as Mound Builders.

Life Cycle of Bird

After our quick review, it might be best to dig a little deeper for the older kids in the crowd. Let’s take a few moments and study the body structure of these flying creatures.

Birds_ext

Now, the internal workings…

internal_organs

A thorough study of birds would not be complete without discussing various wing structures (including an in-depth look at feathers) and beak variations. This would be the perfect time to dig out our microscope and take a closer look at the feathers collected around the bird-cage! As for beaks, it’s time to head over to YouTube for a short lecture.

The circle of life doesn’t affect our fish friends alone. It’s time to discover just where our birds fit into the food chain.

bird-foodchain

My kids would think our lesson incomplete if we didn’t include some type of craft into our activities. To finish off our day, I think we should put our sewing skills to some use and make our own birds!

Bird craft 062

Whew! That is quite a bit to cover in one morning. I think it’s time to curl up and relax. Perhaps we’ll head out back to feed our outdoor bird friends and enjoy the lovely afternoon.

Time to Chime In: Did you know you can teach parakeets to talk? It seems we are out of luck though, putting two birds together hinders them from speaking. They tend to talk only when they are alone, needing the interaction with people not found from another bird. Have you ever taught a bird to speak? Give us some tips!

Dog Days and Sweet Tweets

When I was a very little girl of three, I had a puppy for the brief span of two weeks. It seemed the puppy liked me a little too much; it was constantly nipping and scratching, so out the poor little fellow went.

Jump twenty some odd years into the future… I had four kids of my own and still no pup. That was all about to change though! Our youngest daughter fell in love with the sweetest little thing at a family function. Lo-and-behold, the little one had a brother that needed a home too!

After much debate (me convincing my husband), we finally agreed. Two years ago, we brought home our puppy and our home hasn’t been the same since!

Everyone told me that we would regret it. They told me the kids wouldn’t be attached after the first three months and I would be doing all the work. Well, we are a couple of years into this and my baby girl is still going strong. 

Bringing a puppy into the house certainly has been an education though. Our kids have learned quite a bit from having Dutch and so have we. The first year we learned the hard way, then we decided to get smart and read a book. Along the way we learned some great lessons:

  • Patience– Training a dog takes a lot of patience. They won’t understand why you get angry or frustrated, impatience serves no purpose.
  • Persistence– We had to learn not to give up, even when the dog just didn’t seem to be getting it.
  • Consistency- It never pays to be lazy in training (which we learned the hard way).
  • Gentleness– Yelling at the dog isn’t going to aid in training. You need to speak with a gentle, yet firm, voice.
  • Work Ethic- Laziness and pets do not mix. Grooming, feeding, and exercise are all essential to good animal care.

Dutch is not fully trained yet (due to our late start on the right path) but he is making excellent progress. It has been great to watch the kids learn these valuable lessons.

To add to the fun, about six months ago we decided to allow our youngest daughter to get birds! We bought her two little budgies (parakeets). Like with Dutch, the same lessons needed to be learned and there were areas for her to grow.

Having pets has been a fun adventure that (so far) I do not regret. We have learned a lot and are having so much fun with them. It was the right decision for our family.

Who knows what might be coming up next? Angelina has her eye on kittens… Hmmm… Nope; I don’t think my guy is going to budge on that one!

Do you have pets? What valuable lessons have you and your children learned?

Dioramas

Sunday is our family day. The day that we, usually, don’t have to rush around running errands or make sure school work gets done. My husband thought it would be fun to spend one Sunday making dioramas with the kids. We started the project a few weeks ago, but finally had an opportunity to finish them up today.

Dioramas are very simple to make. All you need is a box and some basic crafting materials. Of course you can always make things more detailed and complex, but the idea is to allow the kids to be creative and create an environment of their choosing.

My oldest daughter, Trinity, is very much into the arts. She chose to create this beautiful theatre diorama. Our plan is to create paper puppets that she can then use in plays, some of which she will write for herself. We used real fabric for the curtains (remnants of an earlier project) and theatrical stickers (also from an earlier scrap-booking project). She was very specific about her plans and I think the end product was simply wonderful.

My middle girlie, Noel, decided to create a fairy world. We created this miniature garden for her to put paper fairies in and play. We used mostly construction paper and flower stickers. We are now going to have to either photocopy or create some paper dolls fairies to play in their own little world.

My baby girl, Angelina, decided to go under the sea. My Aunt Margaret had stopped by for a visit and cleverly helped her to create this ocean scene. The whales were hand drawn and then cut out. We made them pop out a little by adding dimensional stickers. We used real sand, rocks, and shells. I happened to have some left-over ocean stickers and even some ocean beads! We hung the beads on clear string, from the roof of the box, making the diorama even more 3D. She is very pleased with her project.

My little man, JAG, decided that he wanted an Angry Birds box. So, my husband spent the better part of an hour drawing all of the individual birds that my boy thought he needed. (Man, it is nice being married to an artist!) My hubby then made a planet and used the dimensional stickers to pop that off of the background. He added trees, stars, and other details to make the box really come together.

Creating the dioramas was a blast! The kids had a fun time, we got to do something creative together, and now the kids have something to help keep them occupied for the rest of the summer. Sound like fun? Grab a box, some construction paper, and get busy! Let’s see what your kids come up with.