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Dinosaur & Fossils Study Resources

Favorite Dinosaur Books - The Silvan Reverie

Books

*Note that the first of these from DK is for ages 5-8 and the second is ages 9-12

Dinosaur & Fossil Resources - The Silvan Reverie

For Fun

Flash Cards

Fossils Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

Fossil Study

Dinosaur Fossils - The Silvan Reverie

Nature Study

Pond Nature Study

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Books

Nonfiction
Fiction

Pond Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

Printed Resources

Whole Ecosystem

Mammals

Water Birds

Reptiles & Amphibians

Freshwater Fish

Insects

Plant Life

Pond Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

 

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Ocean Nature Study

Ocean Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

A Quick Note

This post is meant to house all my favorite ocean-themed books and learning resources, but please know I have never gone through ALL of these at one time with my kids! We have done ocean units a few times and each time change the focus a bit—one time was more about whales, another time more about lighthouses and sailing, another time ocean explorers. I follow my kids’ interests! Hopefully this list is helpful to you and not overwhelming.

Without further ado, here are my favorite ocean-themed learning resources!

Nonfiction Books:

All-Encompasing

Sea Life

Coral Reefs

Ocean Exploration

Humans & the Sea

Sea Birds

Fiction Books:
Curriculum:

I have the Marine Biology Unit from The Good & the Beautiful but have not done it with my kids. I know many people love this! 

Printed Resources:
Just For Fun:

Ocean Bingo (LOVE this game!)

Small Figures for Sensory Play and Learning

Peg Dolls

Schleich Ocean Animals (larger toys)

DIY Wood Boat and Lighthouse

Coloring Books

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Endangered Species Nature Study

Endangered Species Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

Books

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Resources

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On Wild Hope: Stories for Lent from the Vanishing

**UPDATE 4/11/20 — After writing this post I decided the Wild Hope book is not very kid-friendly. The stories are not very hopeful and longer than the All Creation Waits book (which I still love).

Wild Hope is a guided devotional for Lent by Gayle Boss. As a family we have been going through Gayle Boss’s All Creation Waits for three years now during Advent, and I am excited to read through Wild Hope this year for Lent. All Creation Waits is themed on animals’ adaptations to winter; Wild Hope is themed on endangered species.

So why focus on endangered species for Lent?

“The purpose of Lent has always been to startle us awake to the true state of our hearts and the world we’ve made. Which wakes an aching, wild hope that something new might be born of the ruin. The promise of Lent is that something will be born of the ruin… Lent is seeded with resurrection.” (Gayle Boss, Wild Hope)

We open our hearts and souls up to the animals who suffer, the “least of these” and feel their suffering as our own.

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Bears Nature Study

Bears Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

Nonfiction Books:
Fiction Books:

Great for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Early Chapter Books

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Resources:
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Wild Cats Nature Study

Wild Cats Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

Nonfiction Books:
Fiction Books:

There are a great number of children’s books that feature tigers and lions, so I am not even going to bother listing them (though I will put in a shout-out for Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, an all-time family favorite).

For other wild cats, check out these titles:

Resources
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Phenology Made Easy

Phenology Made Easy - The Silvan Reverie

For all of 2019 I kept a Phenology Wheel, one for each month. This type of wheel requires hours of work each month and is something I personally enjoy and find meaningful. However, I understand there is a desire to do this sort of thing but not everyone feels they have the time or is comfortable committing to that much illustration work.

So, with that in mind, I thought I would share some resources to invite you do participate in a phenological study for 2020 in a way that’s inviting and meaningful, but takes less time.

What is Phenology?

Phenology is simply a recorded journal of what is happening in the natural world where you live over time. Theoretically you could have recorded data for year after year and be able to compare important seasonal shifts, like what day did you hear the first Red-winged Blackbird reappear in spring? When did the first Daffodil bloom? When did your favorite tree lose all its leaves? When was the first snow?

A phenological record can be many things: a wheel is a nice visual tool that looks pretty, but keep in mind you don’t need to have something that detailed to record your phenological year!!

Two great inspiring people who held a passion for Phenology are Edith Holden and Aldo Leopold. Both of these mostly have written records just like you would record a journal:

You don’t need to illustrate everything, is all I’m saying! In fact, you do not need to do any illustration at all to keep a Phenology Journal!

I keep a draft document on my computer and write in a few notes here and there as days pass. No illustration, just a quick note: “Spotted bobcat tracks on 1/15.” Simple. Easy. Quick. But it still has meaning and value — it’s so fun to go back over the whole year and read through and remember those experiences even if I do not have an illustration to match in my Phenology Wheel journal.

Phenology Resources Made Easy

Phenology Made Easy - The Silvan Reverie

First, one of my favorite resources is this:

Lynn’s Guide is so thorough and wonderful! She explains the whole process and provides many examples. She also provides a lot of ideas for what to include in your wheel! This tool is an excellent resource that is also kid-friendly. My own kids are excited about doing one like this in 2020.

Okay, so in my Phenology Wheel for every day of the year I track sunrise/sunset, daily low/high temperature, weather, and the moon phase. Below are other resources you could use as a way to mark your phenological study this year without the need to do all of that illustration yourself:

If you are using Lynn’s Phenology Wheel Guide you could easily add to your page simple data for each month (represented as one wedge of the wheel) such as:

  • Total precipitation for each month
  • Average temperature
  • Full moon name

This alleviates the time commitment to track this information every single day of the year.

Or, here’s the thing — as I said before, you do not have to have a Phenology Wheel in order to keep a Phenology Journal! You could simply use a few of the above resources to keep track of the moon and/or temperature, and then keep a written record in a notebook of what you notice in nature. No illustration required!

Favorite Nature Journal Resources

Phenology Made Easy - The Silvan Reverie

On this blog post I detail how I create my Phenology Wheels for each month and what resources I use to create it.

I plan to use the same notebooks with watercolor paper for my kids to do their phenology wheel, which will be just one year represented by 12 wedges.

I’m excited for another year of discovery and paying attention, being present to the created world and its natural rhythms, which root us in a real embodied life gifted to us.

“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.” – Wendell Berry

Happy 2020!

 

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Winter Solstice Nature Study & Celebration

Celebrating the Winter Solstice - The Silvan Reverie

Winter Solstice Books

A Few Other Books That Fit the Theme

Winter Solstice Learning

I also used this 24-Hour Pie Printout to have my kids count out the difference in daylight hours we experience in the Summer vs. Winter Solstice (see photo above for my son counting using math manipulatives with the sheet).

Celebrating the Winter Solstice - The Silvan Reverie

Winter Solstice Poetry

We love other seasonal-based poetry like A Year of Nature Poems, Around the Year, and Sing A Song of Seasons.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice - The Silvan Reverie

Activities to Celebrate

MAKE ORANGE POMANDERS

We made simple orange pomanders using clementines and whole cloves, paired with The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow. I find that the clementines are easier for small hands, but if your kids need extra help they can always poke the orange first with a toothpick and then push in the cloves.

Pomanders today are created for beautiful decorations and for a nice aroma. In Medieval times these were made for good fortune and to ward off illness.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice - The Silvan Reverie

CREATE A SUN CRAFT

You could do paper suns, sun catchers in the window, sun luminaries, or any number of crafts you can think of to celebrate the sun!

We chose this year to make Salt Dough Sun Ornaments to hang on our Christmas tree.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice - The Silvan Reverie

Salt Dough Recipe:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Combine ingredients & knead until incorporated. Roll & cut into desired shapes. (Add a hole for string with a straw if making ornaments). Bake at low temp (200-250 degrees) for 1-2 or let air dry. I usually to a combination of air dry + oven dry. Usually we paint a day or two after we have cut the shapes.

Once they are dry you can paint them. We use watercolors! You may want to seal the finished items with Mod Podge or something similar to preserve.

CANDLE-MAKING

We use this simple Make Your Own Beeswax Candle Kit to roll beeswax candles — maybe next year we will get in to using melted wax! This kit has lasted us a long time, by the way.

Light is lacking in winter so of course we bring it inside and relish the light we can.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice - The Silvan Reverie

FEED SOME WILDLIFE

We have been reading through All Creation Waits during Advent the last several years and it’s always lovely to consider the natural world this time of year and the extent to which their bodies expend themselves to survive the harsh cold and barren world.

The kids are usually inspired to help our animal friends out, making sure our bird feeders are always full.

We also like to make simple Pinecone Bird Feeders. Great books to pair with this activity are The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader and Night Tree by Eve Bunting.

Simply cover a pinecone in peanut butter, dip & roll in bird seed, then hang outside where you can see and birdwatch!

Celebrating the Winter Solstice - The Silvan Reverie

SOLSTICE SCIENCE

We made frozen ice orbs using an idea I found in Whatever the Weather: Science Experiments and Art Activities that Explore the Wonder of Weather.

  • Fill balloons with water and place in a bowl (coated with vegetable oil so the balloons don’t freeze together).
  • Set outside in below-freezing temps (make sure the bowl isn’t in the sun), and wait until they freeze solid.
  • Peel off the balloons (use scissors or a knife to help) and enjoy your ice orbs!

After marveling for a bit, we decided to set ours outside in the sun to do an experiment on the sun — and see how long they take to melt.

This is a fun and engaging science lesson on water phases, temperature, and the power of the sun!

Celebrating the Winter Solstice - The Silvan Reverie
TAKE A FAMILY HIKE

Enjoy a quiet family hike together — even if it’s not exactly on the Solstice. Pay close attention to sights and sounds. Nature journal your experience together.

COOK A WINTER MEAL TOGETHER

Because we have access to fruits and vegetables and modern refrigeration, I think there is something lost in our ability to feel the frugality and sparseness winter demands. Try to imagine what living through the winter meant 150 years ago!

To honor a sense of gratitude for winter meals, try creating a simple seasonal meal like soup or roasted root vegetables and homemade bread. One of my favorite cookbooks to this end is Simply in Season.

 

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Conifers Nature Study

Conifers Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

Fiction Books:
Holiday Themed Fiction Books:
Nonfiction Books:
Conifers Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie
Resources:

Conifers Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

A Little Note

Remember that terminology is important! Not all conifers are evergreen, and not all evergreens are conifers.

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Grasshopper Nature Study

Grasshopper Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie
Books:
Printed Resources:
For Fun:

Grasshopper Leaf Art Project - The Silvan Reverie

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