Maine Audubon’s mission is to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people in education, conservation, and action. Today, that mission seems more important than ever. Our educators, scientists, advocates, and naturalists are committed to keeping you connected to the natural world as we deal with the coronavirus situation together. Check in every weekday on our Connections page for family activities, parent/teacher tips, backyard birding, nature exploration at our sanctuaries, and live events.
As the Early Childhood Education Program Manager at Maine Audubon, I have the honor of working with some of our youngest constituents: children ages 2-5 and their families. During a typical week, I might spend my days teaching outreach programs at local preschools, leading a weekly Family Fun program at Gilsland Farm, and preparing for an upcoming family event or school vacation camp.
I’m also mom to eight-month-old Leif and three-year-old Callum, and it should come as no surprise that spending time outside is a priority for my family. But with so many of our usual activities on hold, and so much to worry about in the world, lately it’s feeling downright vital to our family’s physical and mental health. With that in mind, I’ll be posting each Friday with a mix of activities and open-ended prompts for outdoor and indoor nature exploration.
The last thing I want is for parents to feel like nature is one more thing to add to an endless to-do list right now. But I hope that these simple explorations will lead to quality time and conversation with your children, as well as opportunities to model curiosity and love of the outdoors. Tune in next week for a full post, but in the interest of sparking some of that family conversation, I’ll leave you with a quick favorite!
If your children have participated in a Maine Audubon preschool program, you surely know how exciting it is to solve the “mystery animal.” You can harness some of that excitement at home—while practicing logic and reasoning skills—by playing an animal guessing game. Simply think of an animal and invite others to ask yes/no questions until they figure it out. Younger kids may need some guidance (model beginning with questions like “Does it have four legs?” or “Does it have feathers?”), while older kids will have you rushing to Google things like, is a porcupine nocturnal? Happy guessing!