Updated: Jun 14, 2019
Today was the best day ever! The ReWired teachers (you want to be one, trust me! And if you do, contact Margaret.) hung out at Jan Derksen's beautiful farm in Bath to hang out and talk about the year we had and bounce around ideas for the year to come. Other topics of conversation included: a passionate inquiry around how pigeons say hello, the names of the turtles that swam by Stephanie's car when she drove it into water too deep, where to find the best Moscow mule in Detroit (answer: at Detroit City Distillery!), and horror stories of driving on the dirt road behind the Bath Meijer, and Cathie Wood's absolutely unbelievable salted honey pie. (The magic ingredient is, of course, Vermillion Creek honey!)
As we said goodbye to the school year and hello to summer, conversation turned to how we were going to spend time outside. In about negative three and a half minutes the group came up with this list:
Have a poetry picnic: Grab a blanket, a good book or ten, some snacks, and some kids, and head outside.
Set family goals for time outside: how many hours can you be outside? How many steps can you take? (How many steps can you forget you’ve taken because you enjoyed the experience so much?) Then, how can you reward yourselves?
Find as many bodies of water as you can: streams, puddles, rivers, ponds, bogs……
Use a field guide and identify trees, birds, animal tracks, plants.
First thing in the morning, go outside and look at the sky. Notice the temperature, cloud cover, wind. Predict the weather for the day.
Have a campout in the back yard.
Catch fireflies in a jar (with holes in the lid), and count them in the morning.
Look for caterpillars and watch them pupate.
Play with every kid’s favorite toys: Sticks, rope, mud, water, boxes.
Grow a garden.
Discovery walk: walk in the woods and notice things. Observe and make inferences.
Look for colors: color swatch. Match the colors.
Make up words can you put to a birdsong to help you remember it (mnemonic). For example, Dave Brigham likes to think the morning dove says, “I’m so sad... sad... sad...”
Look for letters of the alphabet.
Fill a box with cool stuff you found.
Take dolls camping outdoors. Set up a camp for them at the base of a tree: beds, something to eat, etc.
Look at the stars. Get the night sky app: find Jupiter, Saturn, and the Big Dipper.
Roll down a hill of fresh mown grass.
Jump in a mud puddle. Sculpt in the mud.
Make anything out of chalk: a map, a game board, pictures, obstacle course...When you’re done with the chalk, put the ends in a bucket of water and get some wide paint brushes to paint with.
Learn how to use a GPS.
Create a scavenger hunt. Play nature BINGO.
Make a backpack with magnifying lens, binoculars, journal, colored pencils.
Set up a campfire, have dinner: hot dogs, s’mores.
Watch the sunset.
Take a short car ride and look at the farms. Stop and hang out with the sheep, horses, cows.
Go to the MSU Children’s garden and (of course) the dairy store afterward.
Walk, ride, or roll along Lansing’s River Trail.
Build dams for flowing water out of anything you find: sticks, stones, brush, etc.
Dig for “fossils”.
Fill a bucket and go to the creek: crayfish, frogs, tadpoles.
If it’s raining, don’t come inside. Instead, put your swimsuit on and go back out.
Run in the rain.
Poke a stick at ants and see what happens. Put them in a jar and see what happens.
Watch a spider weave a spiderweb.
Sit/Stop: While on a a nature walk, have a brief observation time. Sit for only 5, 10 minutes and just look.
Make daisy chains, whistles with blades of grass or acorn tops. Blow the tops off dandelions.
Press flowers. Rub leaves. Stencil around leaves.
Adopt a tree. Tie a colored string around one thing you find in nature and visit it every day. Watch how it changes throughout the summer (and other seasons as well!).
Take a nap (for the love of god! Take a nap!!!! ;). Go “hammocking”.
From all of us here at The BIG Lesson, HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!