I think I needed some outdoor time even more than the girls did today. Grumpy, overtired and in a pretty bad mood would be the way I would describe...nope, not my children, today it was me. But then we bundled up and headed out and almost immediately my mood began to change.
We started finding animal tracks. And the fun and learning began! So here are some pictures of the tracks that we saw and some questions, learning opportunities and games that went along with them!
Can You Make Tracks Like A- : Pick an animal and have your child try to make tracks in the snow that resemble that animal. If you aren't familiar with exactly what the tracks should look like, that is okay, just have them mimic what they think the animal would move like.
What Happened Here?: Find a spot that has tracks of two different animals and talk with your child about what might have happened at that spot. What are the animals? Would they get along or want to eat each other? Where did they go? Just because the tracks are both here does that mean they were both here at the same time (this question for older kids!)?
We had a great time trying to answer all these questions, playing lots of tracking games and attempting to identify tracks.
Have you looked at tracks in the snow lately?
We also got started making our snow table and chairs today!
Really hoping this works, we didn't do it the same way as they did here but I think it should work out the same. We will see.
The Nitty Gritty!
Animal Tracks Tips -
If the track disappears at the base of a tree there is a pretty good chance the animal ran up the tree! Super fun to watch kids figure that out on their own.
Rabbits have a lot of fur on their feet so you can't see their four toes very easily. Squirrels have longer claws and less hair so you are more likely to see pronounced toes and claws, plus they have five toes.
Mice may drag their tail as they move, so you would see a small line between the tracks.
Subnivean tunnels are tunnels made underneath the snow. Sometimes you can see these as an odd raised line snaking its way across an open area. Small animals like voles and mice will use these to travel across open space without being seen by larger predators.
How we made the snow table and chairs - I am hesitant to share this until I know for sure that it is going to work. But basically we just used good packing snow and started sculpting it into big squares on the ground. Sam was in charge of filling buckets of snow and bringing them over to me. I am hoping that the snow will compact down and freeze nice and solid outside over night. Then we can either add more to them to make them a bit bigger or just leave them the size they are and try them out to see if it worked. I will keep you posted!