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Warm Weather Projects Make Learning About Nature Fun!

Share Summer is no time to hang around inside. During the warm weather, encourage kids to head outdoors with some new nature projects. This week, Education World reviews two new books of nature activities that are both educational and fun.

Summer is the time to head outdoors, but that doesn't mean learning has to stop. This week, Education World looks at two new books that can provide kids with hours of fun while they learn all about the natural world.


Book Cover Image If you are looking for a variety of engaging, educational activities that help teach kids about the world around us, you should examine Nature for Fun Projects, by Sally Hewitt. (Copper Beech Books/Millbrook Press) The book is divided into six chapters filled with dozens of projects. Each chapter could be used as a classroom unit, and many of the experiments can stand alone as well.

Rivers, Ponds, and Seashore includes projects that teach about flowing water, aquatic plant and animal life, and water birds. Life Cycles covers such topics as growing plants from seed, nutrition, birds' nests, and the life cycle of a butterfly. Most of the activities use commonplace, inexpensive materials. For example, the lesson on animal camouflage in Woods and Meadows uses only cardboard, paint, and scissors.

Each activity is presented on a colorful, two-page spread, which includes a brief description of the project and the lesson to be learned. Photographs of children completing the projects -- and drawings that help explain the lesson -- accompany each activity. Most of the projects are clearly described and illustrated, and a helpful parent or teacher can fill in any gaps. A glossary and index are included at the end of the book.

Any number of the activities in Nature for Fun Projects can be useful in a classroom setting to help illustrate lessons in earth science. When the weather turns colder and summer fun ends, the chapter All Year Round offers continuing activities to help study the changing seasons.


Book Cover Image Why is grass green? Do plants eat and drink? What do worms do all day? Find the answers to those and other questions in Dig and Sow! How Do Plants Grow? by Janice Lobb. (Larousse Kingfisher Chambers, Inc.) Utilizing a question-and-answer format, Lobb provides simple, direct answers the questions that children ask about science in the everyday world. She describes such topics as photosynthesis, pollination, and the formation of soil in clear, easy-to-understand language.

Each question and answer is followed by a simple experiment -- See for Yourself! To demonstrate a day in the life of an earthworm, for example, a child creates an easy wormery to observe how worms mix sand and soil. Vibrating a plastic ruler shows how the vibration of bees' wings causes a humming sound.

In the beginning of the book, Lobb briefly lists some of the more common materials needed to do most of the experiments in the book. At the end, a Backyard Quiz tests the topics covered throughout the book. Peter Utton's and Ann Savage's illustrations are cheerful and help make Dig and Sow! How Do Plants Grow? a fun, easy-to-read introduction to science for young children.

The books highlighted this week are available in most bookstores. If you are unable to locate a book, ask your bookseller to order it for you or contact the publisher directly.

  • Nature for Fun Projects, written by Sally Hewitt and illustrated by Tony Kenyon, Stuart Squires, and Mike Atkinson, is published by Copper Beech Books, an imprint of the Millbrook Press, 2 Old New Milford Road, Brookfield, CT 06804.
  • Dig and Sow! How Do Plants Grow?, written by Janice Lobb and illustrated by Peter Utton and Ann Savage, is published by Larousse Kingfisher Chambers Inc., 95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016.

Lauren P. Gattilia
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World

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