Exploring Habitats with Children: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

April 1, 2013

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Week at a Glance:

  • Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer
  • Artistic Expression: Drawing a Habitat Room
  • Habitat Pond Collage Art
  • Incorporating Habitats into Journal Writing
  • Habitat Investigation and Construction
  • Book Recommendation: The Last Child in The Woods by Richard Louv

Salamander Room

Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

Why we love this book:

The Salamander Room has been one of my favorite books since way back in the day, when I was a public school teacher. Little did I know that I would later have a son who would gladly live in a salamander room. When I read this book to MacGyver and Miss Enigma, they both went wild with dreams of a salamander room of their very own room. MacGyver exclaimed, That is awesome! That is my dream room. I WANT that room. I WANT a nature room! Oh my gosh, that is cool . . .

The Butterfly Garden: FREE printable book

MacGyver is literally saving his money to build a butterfly house. He has recruited his friend Andrea Sanger, Owner of Hill Country Gardens. He has informed Ms. Sanger that he is saving his money so the two of them can create a butterfly house that will be open to the public. He was inspired by the butterfly garden at the Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, Texas.

The Butterfly Garden: FREE printable book

Artistic Expression: Imagine Your Very Own Habitat Room

Habitats for Children

Step 1: Read Aloud The Salamander Room

Step 2: Imagine Your Very Own Habitat Room and Draw Your Bed

  • Each of the children selected a Habitat Room.
  • MacGyver Picked a Butterfly Room.
  • His bed is a hammock made of leaves strung between two oak trees.

Habitats for Children

  • Miss Enigma went big, she decided to make a Nature Room.
  • I tried to get her to focus on a specific animal and it’s habitat.
  • A teacher has to know when to give-in!

Habitats for Children

The Butterfly Room, colored pencils, by MacGyver, age 9

Step 3: Add Plants and Animals to Your Habitat Room

  • MacGyver, was going CRAZY over his drawing. He took it very serious.
  • MacGyver kept commenting, “I LOVE this room. I wish, wish, wish, I could live in this room.” His comments went on and on!
  • I was going to list all of the scientific information he included in his drawing explaining why he selected specific plants, butterflies, a pond . . . but I need some sleep tonight and don’t have time to type all of his info in this post.
  • Trust me, it was quite interesting.

Habitats for Children

Nature Room, Sharpie and watercolor paint by Miss Enigma, age 6

  •  This painting will definitely be framed and featured on Miss Enigma’s art shelf.
  • This Mommy loves this colorful painting.
  • Miss Enigma is hanging out at the pond with the turtles, frogs and salamanders.
  • She’s also snuggling-up with her dog Autumn.

More Habitat Explorations

Scoot collage project time

Frog Pond Collage and the Writing Process

  • Taking inspiration from the book Scoot! by Cathryn Falwell, the children created pond collage habitats to highlight the life cycle of a frog.
  • Step by step lesson with photos including book recommendations, supplies, the writing process and collage art.

habitat finished entry

Incorporating Science into Journal Writing

  • After reading Move Over Rover by Karen Beaumont, MacGyver investigates and writes about the habitat in which he lives.

frog habitat release 2

Creating a Frog Habitat: catch and release adventures

  • After catching more than 30 baby frogs at Aunt Jennifer’s house, the kiddos created a frog habitat complete with a pond, boulders and plants.

MacGyver holds turtle

Making a Habitat for a Red Eared Slider Turtle: (another catch and release adventure)

  • One morning, our dog Shadow discovered a turtle in our yard. The children took full advantage of the situation, making an observation habitat for the turtle in our wheel barrow.

walking stick the color brown

Walking Stick Habitat House

  • One lucky summer, we experienced a walking stick invasion. Awesome! MacGyver was quick to construct a walking stick habitat out of a box.
  • I have to add, our contractor was quit impressed. Just sayin.

Last Child in the Woods

These are just a few of our habitat adventures. The children almost always have a little critter they are observing. They keep it a few days, making it a lovely place to live and then release it. This is one of the joys of homeschooling. The kiddos play outside EVERY day and they get up close and personal with everything from butterflies to snakes. After school, the neighbor kiddos actually skip their video games, climb over the fence and help create habitats for little critters. Makes my heart smile.

To wrap up this post, I would like to recommend the book The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.  Mr Louv makes the case that while we Americans have become more and more “environmental” our children have begun to experience nature less and less. While reading I was saying, “Amen brother! Tell us why and how to save our children from nature deceit disorder!”

Salamander Room

We’re GIVING AWAY one hardcover copy of The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

To enter this contest, use the Rafflecopter to answer the following question. After you leave a comment, you can move ahead with more entries.

Answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

Imagine your very own habitat room. What would it be? A field of flowers? The wooded forest? A mountain top? A Caribbean blue ocean? Anyone who knows me, knows my answer!  (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

No entries after 11:59 pm Central Time, Thursday, April 4, 2013

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, April 5, 2013. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sharing this week at:

Hip Homeschool Moms

Reading Confetti

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara H April 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I love the way a grove (not sure if that’s the right term for it) of pine trees looks! I always tell my husband when we’re driving and pass some that I would love to have a house right in the middle. :) Maybe some day!

Lorie April 2, 2013 at 3:34 am

Somewhere warm! :)

Ellie April 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Wow, I love how this book has so inspired MacGyver. I hope he accomplishes his dream! I often dream about having two special rooms, a bright sunny room devoted to meditation and a cozy room piled high with books (a library), but I never thought about having a nature room before. I think I’d like one a sort of overgrown, wild garden room, where the walls were covered with ivy and wisteria and there were all kinds of bright flowers.

Robin April 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm

That a hard one, My room looks like a habitat room.. we are growing sunflowers and we have some bugs in the science center.
If I could create one for me it would be like a forest with small lizards, lots of plants and birds singing outside the window..

Julie April 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm

A rocky beach shore. I love the sound of ocean waves and tidal pools on a rocky beach are much more interesting than those pristine sandy ones (though those are just beautiful!).

Jeannine April 3, 2013 at 7:38 am

Julie, I’m right there with you at the beach! We totally loved our trip to San Diego. We skipped all of the amusement parks and spent all of our time exploring the coast. The tidal pools were truly fascinating. We’re still talking about them two years later. But we also like the pristine sandy beaches of Florida as well. We find tons of sea life. Such a fun learning adventure!

Kaye Swain April 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

What a wonderful article with so many cool ideas – perfect for grandboys in the spring and summer. I’m going to have to find those books! Thank you.

My ideal habitat would be a driftwood house on the beach – like I used to build when we went on vacation to a beach loaded with glorious driftwood. Such a fun memory! Thank you again.

Jamie April 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Oooh, I love your son’s enthusiasm for insects. As for me, I’d like a forest room, deep in the dark cool woods, where I could watch the change of seasons and the forest animals would come right up to me!

Yogamama April 4, 2013 at 9:43 am

My habitat room would have to be a pine forest. Whenever I think of a calm peaceful place that’s what automatically comes to my mind!

maryanne @ mama smiles April 4, 2013 at 10:19 am

I’ve always wanted to live in a tree house at the top of a rain forest. A tree house with indoor plumbing!

michelle April 4, 2013 at 10:35 am

Definitely warm clear water with lush trees and bright colored flowers. But no bugs. Unfortunately, my boys would definitely want the bugs and probably snakes, too!

Jeannine April 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Oh yes, indoor plumbing is a must! Nature is great but an indoor toilet makes it even better!

Pauline @ LessonsLearntJournal.com April 12, 2013 at 1:16 am

Wow… what amazing habitats! Pity we don’t live in the States because I would love to enter your giveaway. I’ll be featuring your post as part of my Kids Books: Stories, Poems & Activities roundup from the Weekly Kids’ Co-op. Thanks for sharing. xoxo P

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