Woodlands, spread throughout the country, offer educational opportunities through activities. Time spent in the woodlands provides parents with a chance to impart knowledge to their children about the creatures, the trees, fire safety and survival skills as they participate in different exercises. Whether a family is camping in the forest for several days, or just spending one day in nature, a lot can be learned.
Capture the creatures of the woodlands with the help of a pair of binoculars and a camera. Keep an eye on the treetops to find the birds whose songs you hear. Check along the sides of the trees for life, such as ants, lizards or frogs. Watch the forest floor for signs of the residents. Take plaster and make molds of the footprints you find. Use guide books to learn about the animal that left its print.
Paper and crayons can be used to create a file of all of the trees found in the woods. Place the paper against the bark of each different type of tree. Rub the flat side of the crayon over the bark to make an imprint. Choose a leaf from the same tree. Using a different crayon, make a rubbing of the leaf beside the bark. Use a tree field guide to identify each type of tree and create a construction paper book.
Check with the forest service to make sure fires are allowed. Gather wood and build a campfire. This is an excellent time to tell the children about Smokey Bear and forest fires. Teach children how to put the fire out in a way that avoids the danger of the campfire starting a fire. Take a hike and look for evidences of old campfires and forest fires. Talk about how they can keep fires from spreading. Practice proper ways to leave the woodlands if there is a potential fire.
Plan a hiking trip to teach children about survival in the forest. Equip each child with a flashlight, canteen full of water and compass. Hike into the forest and teach them how to cut down small trees to make a lean-to. Hunt for edible plants and plants that can be used for emergency first aid. Teach them to keep an eye on the weather. Learn how to read the clouds and predict the weather for yourself. Teach the children how to mark their trail in case they are ever lost. As you hike, have the kids leave signs, such as piles of stones or broken leaves that point in the direction you are traveling.
Look between the trees, scouring the ground. Make collections of seeds, including acorns, milk pods and other collage building material. Bring the items back to your home base. Let each child create their own, unique collage from the material she collected.
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