Tag Archives: animals

Beaver!

Last weekend, we met extended family in the mountains of Tennessee for our annual Family Reunion Campout. The group included a grandmother, thirteen (grown) kids and spouses, twenty-four grandkids and three spouses, five great-grandchildren, two friends, and — a beaver!

For many years, we didn’t see much wildlife around the campground, but within the last five or so, we’ve seen quite a lot. We’ve come upon a rattlesnake, a deer, hatchling turtles, and this year, a beaver! It was swimming above the water in the river when someone spotted it, and we all ran over to the bridge to see. You might have thought that with so many people there it would go under and disappear, but it didn’t; it just kept going along against the current until it was so far upriver we couldn’t see it anymore.

Now, what’s a homeschooler to do with an event like that? Why, make a lesson from it, of course! And while you may not have seen a beaver recently, you may still have a young beaver fan at your house. If so, here are some resources to check out:

WEBSITES:

Beaver Unit Study – based on the book Paddy the Beaver by Thornton W. Burgess.

Beavers – Wetlands & Wildlife – This website was created by the friends and associates of conservationist Dorothy Richards to continue her efforts to educate others about beavers. Lots of interesting information here.

“Beavers”
– More beaver facts in this National Geographic article.

“Beaver Family”
– National geographic video featuring a beaver family through the seasons.

“How Beavers Build a Lodge” –   This BBC YouTube video shows amazing footage of beavers building their home.

BOOKS:

  • Beavers by Helen H. Moore
  • Building Beavers by Kathleen Martin-James
  • Beavers: Where Waters Run (Northword Wildlife Series) by Paul I. V. Strong
  • The Adventures of Buddy the Beaver: Buddy Explores the Pond by Carson Clark and Jim Clark
  • Beaver – The Life Cycle by Bobbie Kalman
  • Beavers (Kids Can Press Wildlife Series) by Deborah Hodge and Pat Stephens

With so many resources,  it’s time to get busy — like a beaver!!

 

Photo by Carlson

Time to Sleep

When my oldest son was very young, I discovered the picture book Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming at the library. It was such a fun book that we purchased our own copy and used it every year.

Time to Sleep follows a number of animals as they realize that winter is coming.  The leaves are falling and the days are shorter, so Bear decides he must tell Snail that it’s time to hibernate. Snail, then, must tell Skunk, who in turn must tell Turtle, and so on until Ladybug hears the news. The story comes full circle as Ladybug goes to Bear’s cave and wakes him up to tell him… it’s time to sleep.

We made the story even more fun by creating a craft to go along with it. Here’s what we did:

Using felt squares found at the craft store, I made each of the animals depicted in the story. I cut out two pieces of the basic shape of each animal and sewed the sides together (leaving a small opening). My son then stuffed them with fiberfill, and I sewed them shut. We added googly eyes and noses to the animals that needed them.

Next, we found a cardboard box about 12″ deep. I turned it upside down and cut a hole in the bottom of it.

Then, we read the story again. As each animal went to “sleep,” my son put them in the hole in the box. The last one to go in was the ladybug. Not only did we have a good time reading the book and making the craft, but my son learned about hibernation and had hands-on reinforcement each time we read the story. We actually used the same book, box, and animals with all of my children (I don’t know how they lasted so long), and it was fun to reminisce each time we got them out.

For us, Time to Sleep was really time for fun!