Thursday, August 20, 2015

On Our Nature Shelf....exploring rocks and gems

Remember that sometimes just "putting it out there" is a great way to invite little learners to explore science (or any!) objects.  When we were in South Dakota this summer, there was a big rock display at a gift shop.  They were reasonably priced, so I picked up a nice selection for our geology studies.  I haven't yet had time to pull together a geology study, but I did decide to put the rocks out for open exploration.

Note that my kids have been taught how to explore scientific objects properly--They take the whole tray/basket to the table and handle the items gently.  Then they return the items to the shelf when finished.  They also know these specimens aren't for playing with in other areas of the house, they are specifically for scientific exploration, so they won't be included in building a castle or hauled in mini dump trucks (we have other rocks for that!!)

I love these little Golden Guides and pick them up whenever I see them at used book stores or thrifting.

Putting this little display out for my kiddos really peaked their interest and both of them have enjoyed looking at, touching, and exploring the rocks and gems.  Q will even use the book to try to identify them!

Obviously these rocks are more interesting than things we could find in our backyard, but we make some great nature displays even from our own area.  Often we save rocks that have neat textures or shapes or sizes to put on our nature table, so don't be discouraged if you don't have something amazing.

Including kiddos in finding items for your nature table/shelf is always a hit.  They feel ownership and pride and are so much more likely to use good stewardship for "their" items!

What's on your nature table/shelf/windowsill??!!!