Monday, April 28, 2014

Fizz! Boom! Read....Summer Reading 2014 Ideas for Young Naturalists

This year's Summer Reading theme promises to be pretty exciting, between fizz, slime, and things that fly!  I'm really excited about all of the reactions and experiments that we'll be trying out around the library and around the house, but in between the explosions, it will be nice to practice the very scientific art of observation, in particular, observing nature and the amazing things that happen outside in the summertime.

Of course, I'll be using When You Are Camping, because its characters spend a good part of the book watching animals and insects.  Hazel and Tilly are definitely young naturalists in the making.  I always like to pair When You Are Camping with one of Frank Serafini's Looking Around.... titles for younger audiences.  If you have an outside area to take advantage of, follow it up with a game of eye-spy, encouraging children to notice elements in the natural environment.  What in the Wild by David Schwartz is more challenging and has a higher ick-factor for older groups. 


Memory Game: If you're outside place a handful of man-made objects on the ground and cover them up with a cloth.  Remove the cloth, let children observe, then hide the objects again.  Ask your audience what they saw.  Most will recall the man-made objects but you might get someone who says "grass" or "a stick."  Yes!  It's easy to get distracted by toys, but those natural elements are really important to notice and observe, too!

Here are some readable and beautifully illustrated biographies about famous naturalists that are great to share with a wide range of ages (perfect for mixed-age Summer audiences):

Me....Jane by Patrick McDonnell

The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with Chimps by Jeanette Winters

Squirrel and John Muir by Emily Arnold McCully

John Muir: America's Naturalist by Thomas Locker

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin By Kathryn Lasky

Find my coloring sheets, activities, and crafts that I love on my Pinterest "When You Are Camping" board.

So happy Summer Reading!  I hope you enjoy a few quiet moments of observation in between all of the Boom!

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