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Party with the Possoms and a few Nature ideas

August 2, 2007

Chers Amis,

Oh!  Enfin!  Our Internet connection is up and running again after 3 days.  You don’t realize how addicted fond you are technology until it is on the fritz.  In the meantime, sans la tentation de l’ordinateur,  I was able to get a good bit of planning done for the upcoming year, forage for a myriad of new fungi with Caddie, and go on a nighttime nature hike at the Red Top Mountain  "Party with the Possomsau clair de la lune.  While not the most fruitful nature walk from a spotting point of view (at least 30 people showed up), it was refreshing to stroll through the woods by moonlight.  No possums.  Just a few unidentified frogs and toads that the guides took back to the visitor’s center to feed to the hog nose snake.  Caddie caught a toad but refused to offer it as fodder, preferring to release him back under his log.

Before the hike, the guides had a fun sensorial activity  that I may try to build on for our winter nature table.  The organizers had selected approximately 12 objects to be identified by touch alone and had placed them in the bottom of a plastic cup/glass (8oz).  The glasses were placed bottom first into a tube sock so that one could insert one’s hand into the mouth of the sock and touch the object without seeing it.  The ‘touchers’ tried to ID each object using only touch.  Quite funny!  Here are some of the items used:

  • Easter grass
  • pumice
  • snake skin
  • feathers (down)
  • old marshmallows
  • a slice (horizontal) of a branch (The called this a wood cookie.)
  • a sea sponge (dried)
  • rubber fishing lures (flat worms)
  • a button

I can imaging having 3-5 touch cups like these and placing a series of new objects in them each week.  The kids would have to write down or narrate a description, ID it  if possible, and try to draw it w/o looking.  Other objects could be stones, a cicada shell, snail shell, different varieties of nuts/seed pods, leaves (draw from touch alone and guess autumn colors, marbles, tiny dried starfish, sea glass, tiny pine cones, dried flowers, an empty paper wasp nest or praying mantis ootheca, cleaned and dry bird egg etc.  Household objects would also work.

Another idea would be to further combine this with art. My mother teaches art in TX and one of the activities she does with her students is to have them sculpt a shape/object w/o looking.  For example the students each take a small piece of clay, sit at a table with their hands beneath the table cloth and try to form a tiny teddy bear or baby – without looking.  Try it! No peeking! Not easy.  I can imagine asking my crowd to try to make a copy of the hidden object with or without sight of their hands or the object. With or without the clay, It might be fun on a chilly winter morning, so I have started making a collecting of treasures to introduce.  Any ideas on other objects to try?


5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2007 8:18 pm

    Wow, great ideas! I think I may have to borrow them. Thanks for sharing! Computer problems must be contagious round here. Mine was down this weekend, and Barb’s has been down the past 3 days as well.

  2. August 2, 2007 8:31 pm

    How about incorporating literature as well? You could read passages from books that give a detailed setting of nature and they would have to try and draw what you read.

    OK, I promise to leave you alone now! ;o)

  3. August 2, 2007 10:50 pm

    OH, what a great idea! Now, how do I “save” these ideas? I come across them all the time in blogs, and then just forget about them. Any ideas on that? 🙂

  4. August 2, 2007 10:50 pm

    OH, what a great idea! Now, how do I “save” these ideas? I come across them all the time in blogs, and then just forget about them. Any ideas on that? 🙂

  5. August 5, 2007 2:46 am

    Fantastic ideas!I especially love the idea of trying to draw what you feel.
    Another way you can do this type of thing is to have a bigger bag with multiple items in it (like between 5 and 10). Then you have cards with pictures of the items. Draw a card, feel around inside the bag, and then try to pull the correct pictured item out of the bag without looking.

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