Summer Animal Camp

By Lonnie Lorenz

At Swift Nature Camp, a summer camp in Northern Wisconsin, children play outside while learning about Nature and Science. Here are some helpful hints parents can do at home

Being Observant is the most important aspect of enjoying the outdoors. How often do kids run through the woods never stopping to notice what they are passing.

Walking or hiking through the woods is a regular part of Summer Science Camp. However, with out having a purpose many times staff and campers merely walk along the trail without really noticing what is around them. They overlook the sounds, sights, textures and diversity of the ecosystem.

So when you take your kids out in nature, try these things. Simple supplies are needed, so it will take only a few minutes to collect them. Or you can plan and keep them on the side ready to go.

One you feel you have a feel for these activities invite your children's friends to come along, I'm sure they too will enjoy being away from their scheduled lives and enjoy the peace of nature,

Make a Rubbing
Supplies: Paper, crayons or charcoal
Ahead of time: It is best to have experience at this before you help others.
Assignment: Search for trees, rocks and logs that have a variety of textures. Put the paper over the surface of the tree, rock or log, hold the charcoal or crayon at an angle, and rub over the paper so that the unique pattern is transferred to the paper.
Conversation: What did you discover by doing these rubbings?

Changes Everywhere
Supplies: Clipboard and writing utensils
Ahead of time: think or research how things would be different if the land was developed
Assignment: Stop along the trail and look into the woods. Imagine that the land had sold this plot of land to a developer to build. How would that development changethings? What effect would it have on the habitat and food supplies of the animals living there? What would happen to the soil if the trees were cut down? How would the plants in the woods change? How would the threat of erosion increase?
Conversation: How have ecosystems near your home been destroyed? What changes have happened to the land?

Sounds of Nature
Supplies: Paper and pencil for each, you can get cds with sounds in the library bird field guide
Ahead of time: Find out what types of birds are native to the woods around, listen to the cd and study the sounds
Assignment: Sit in the woods a slight distance from others, and be quiet Close your eyes and listen. When you hear a sound, see if you can recall the bird calll,
Conversation: What was your favorite sound and why?

We at Swift Nature Camp hope this gave a sample of some of the projects we do out in Nature. If you child is interested in these sorts of activities have them join us next summer.

If this is your first time thinking about Summer Camp look at Summer Camp Advice a free website that helps parents find the right camp for their child. - 31490

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