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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Get Outside for Some Air

Last week we had a string of rainy days with lower than usual temps. Henry’s elementary school held recess inside and Leo couldn’t play on the playground at preschool. We spent the afternoons inside playing with toys and watching TV. I love a rainy afternoon every once in a while. The weather here is so wonderful on a regular basis that I often feel guilty staying inside instead of going to the park or taking a bike ride. But, after two or three days in a row cabin fever sets in, the sparks between brothers fly, and tensions flair.
I was so happy on the third day to see the sun peeking though the clouds after school. I had a pile of work to do in my office and another pile in the laundry room and the boys were bickering over something silly. Time to change the dynamic. So I made a decree:
“We are going out to get some air. We are taking a walk. NOW!”
The boys seemed surprised but happily put on coats and sneakers. We tromped outside and stood in the driveway. After a short discussion we decided to take the “long” way to the park and explore along the way.
As we set out, Henry immediately jumped into the beautifully landscaped area that runs alongside the sidewalks in our community. I tried calling him out but when he said “But mom, I am exploring! You never know what I will find,” I didn’t have the heart to follow through. He was making up his own nature walk in the middle of our tame, planned, manicured neighborhood. I have to admire that.
Henry was tracking along a cinderblock wall and came upon a huge root. It was growing from an enormous tree on the opposite side of the wall. We stopped to talk about the root and how it managed to thrive, despite the man made wall in its way. Leo was particularly impressed and examined the big root for long time.
Further down the sidewalk, we noticed that the landscapers had been cutting back bushes. Henry and Leo were very interested in the trunks and smooth planes left behind. We talked about how the cuts looked fresh and new. I explained that sometimes we cut bushes to help them grow better. It was fun for them to touch and see the results.
Then Henry found this specimen and he was really really excited. Where did the holes come from? I really have no idea but we hypothesized that perhaps it was bugs in the tree. I tend to agree.
Leo started collecting interesting seedpods as we wandered along. There were so many different varieties. Whenever we picked something interesting up, we would look above our heads to figure out which tree had dropped the treasure. Each specimen has it’s own features and cool details. Some were fuzzy, other spiky, one looked like corn in a soft pod. The seeds gave us a chance to talk about how trees deliver their seeds and how the seeds are often protected by a hard shell or husk.
Both boys made unforgettable observations. First, Henry stated wisely that we were on a Nature Walk Walk and that we did not have the proper tools.
“Next time, mom,” he said, “we need a magnifying glass, a bucket, and a picker up thing. Let’s do this every week and see how the walk changes.”
I swear to you, he actually said that. I have a science kid!!!
Leo’s thoughts were more abstract. When we were examining a hole in the sidewalk Leo put his fingers in the dirt and said:
“Now I know what it looks like under the sidewalk.”
I smiled and smiled that afternoon. I felt really good about my decision to get outside for some air. I loved that the boys led the expedition and they were the science observers. I just went along for the walk.

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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