One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me was something that they described as "good eyes". I notice birds that most people might miss. While hiking I can spot insects, mushrooms and lots of other small details. I can see the beauty in little things as well as the big grand view.
As a scientist and naturalist it is also really important that I can describe in detail the things that I see. These two traits combined are very helpful! I am hoping that I can pass these two things on to the girls.
We practice the "good eyes" all the time when we are outside. Just pointing out things that are both far away and smaller things that are closer helps them to learn to look in both places all the time.
Anyway, today we got out some of our birding tools to start practicing the skill of describing.We started with a set of bird pictures that are all very different. We played "I Spy". Sam would describe a bird I would have to pick up the picture that I thought she was describing, then we would switch.
We moved on to our winter bird poster which made the "I Spy" game much more difficult. But we focused on the birds with distinguishable features that we could describe and Sam did great.
I let Sam play with the Identiflier too. She was trying to hear the calls of birds that were in our poster. It was fun to see her making connections between two pictures of the same birds and then hearing the bird call as well.
Birds are starting to find our feeders again that we have back out for winter. I am hoping the girls will have as much fun sitting and watching the real birds as they did today looking at the pictures!
The Nitty Gritty!
Even if you don't have bird flash cards, posters or call machines you can still practice observing and describing. Try checking out some "Seek and Find" or "I Spy" books from the local library. But before your child points out what they have found have them describe it to you. If they struggle with the describing, try guiding them with questions about what it looks like.
"I Spy" can also be a great game to play when you are killing time somewhere or are in the car!