Readathon Week #5--Earth and Being Green

For this week's theme, MemeTales Readathon has chosen Green/Earth. There are two free books along this theme. Through the five weeks over 5500 meals have been donated to Has your child(ren) joined yet to donate another meal?

The books this week are Let's Go Chipper! Into the Great Outdoors published by Let's Go Chipper and What Does It Mean To Be Green? by Rana Di Orio. Let's Go Chipper! Into the Great Outdoors is about a suburban squirrel going on a camping trip and meeting all sorts of new friends there. The purpose of the book is to remind children to get outside and discover the world even in your own backyard.

Today we did just that. Well not in our own backyard, but we went to the Mass Audubon Ipswich River Sanctuary for a Story Time Adventure. We have signed up for all four this month and this was our second one. Today's theme was on bugs. The book read was Bugs Are Insects by Anne Rockwell. Next the instructor pulled out some items to dress like a butterfly or a moth. Hazel took a turn as a moth.
In the book we learned that insects have six legs, two sets of wings, three body sections and two antennae. The three body sections are the head, thorax (where all the legs are attached) and the abdomen. As the kids dressed up we learned that some insects have five eyes and that butterflies and moths breath through holes on their sides (the yellow circles represent them). 

Our instructor also talked about the butterfly's tongue and used these party supplies as examples.
Then the instructor showed us half of a paper wasp hive. This was really neat. I took three pictures to show you.
Inside Close Up
 The holes in the close up are where they lay their eggs and hatch their babies.

Then in the heat (possibly record breaking here) we went out to find some bugs. While looking at some of the flowers, we met one of the grounds people and he is apparently the expert on nature at this Mass Audubon site. He found and caught bugs for the kids taking us to a close by meadow that he knew would have variety.
One of the many snakes!
We found many dragonflies and some crickets and grasshoppers as well as some milk weed beetles. Oh, and he showed us many snakes!
Milkweed Beetle
 He also put a milkweed beetle in the net Hazel was carrying so she could catch something. He was so wonderful with the bugs and critters as well as the kids. It was so nice of him to take a break from his demanding job to teach the kids a little something (as well as us moms). 

A Blue and a Green Dragonfly to Compare

He called this something like a spotted dragonfly (can't remember the exact name)
 I told myself I would remember all the names, but of course I didn't. For more information on dragonflies, check out Willowbrook Wildlife Center.
He also put the dragonflies on the kids fingers if they wanted to hold one to release them. Hazel was a bit scared to do this.
Green One--Cannot remember the proper name
After catching some crickets and grasshoppers he brought us back to the Nature Center since the camp was not in it. He brought out a spotted salamander for the kids to see. He let the kids hold it if they washed their hands first since we all had sunscreen and bug spray on us.Salamanders are like frogs and breathe and drink through their skin so the sunscreen and bug sprays may hurt him.
Then he took us into the Nature Center so we could feed the four frogs our grasshoppers and crickets. We looked at the frogs and put the food in, but at this point Hazel wanted to leave and they were not eating. So all the kids headed back to the porch where the story was read and our instructor shared some manipulatives with us. She showed us the life cycle of a bee and of a butterfly. I photographed them in backwards order. Sorry! (Oh, and Hazel reached for the butterfly while I took the shot.)
The bumps on the green leaf represent the eggs.

She also gave us a counting saying to bring home to remember the insects parts.

1 Exoskeleton, hard shell, no bones
2 antennae
3 body parts: head, thorax, abdomen
4 wings: not always present
5 eyes: 2 compound, often 3 simple
6 legs attached to the thorax

And she taught us a song sung to the Head, and Shoulders, Knees and Toes tune.

Head, thorax, abdomen, six legs
Head, thorax, abdomen, four wings
Two antennae, sometimes five eyes
Head thorax, abdomen, six legs

Have you checked out the Audubon Society near you? Do they have any good programs? I know our local zoo does as well. And of course there are so many great things you can do with crafting in nature. One fun activity we did was senses in nature and color in nature. Playing with flowers, painting with flowers, leaves, etc.
The second free book is about being green and what that means. It goes through planting flowers and trees to recycling to using less energy. All of these are of course great lessons for the kids. 

To tie into this theme, it just so happens that Daria (remember my post on Daria) is holding a giveaway that includes watching some of her YouTube videos which go with this theme. The first is the song We've Got The Whole World in Our Hands, which of course goes into taking care of the earth. The second is Over in the Meadow (which goes more with the first book).
Dahlia in bloom in my yard

Hazel and I also talked about how we hung our clothes on the line today instead of using the dryer to conserve energy and we recycle just about everything. Tomorrow morning we are planning on planting more dahlia bulbs. My father just gave them to me. We of course also have all of our gardening crafts with more coming soon!