Now that most of us are sheltering at home (HUGE shout-out to the essential workers out there in all fields – medical, food retail, gas stations, etc.!), we here at DLC figure some simple outdoor science/nature activities might help families fill their days.

So, if you have kids at home, grab a hula hoop, magnifying glass, and light-colored towel. Improvise if needed! Let a child toss the hula hoop anywhere over grass, mulch, or leaf litter. I like to talk about the importance of observing closely, rather than just looking. Lying on the ground, observe everything within the hoop. What things in it are living? Non-living? If all you see are plants, count the different kinds….unless you have a perfect lawn and I can’t help you there 🙂 If you’re lucky, maybe you observe some ants. Then you can talk about how ants are insects because they have six legs. My son and I happened to find roly-polys (not insects, but isopods!)

The second part of this activity is to spread out your light colored towel and scoop up a bunch of leaf litter, including all the damp stuff on the soil. Spread it out on the towel and start looking for critters. We found some tiny spiders (not insects, but arachnids!) and counted their eight legs.

Stay tuned because our next backyard adventure is going to involve tulips and plant anatomy! Wishing everyone health and safety!

Leaf litter science

Hula hoop ecology