September 18, 2003

Butterflies in the rain... Today was our first science class at the local nature preserve. We had a good time though I must admit it was a bit chaotic. There were about 25 kids there for the program (age range 4-11) plus their younger siblings and parents. We had two naturalists who did a great job. First they asked the kids questions about insects and butterflies to see what they knew. As you can imagine the knowledge varied as the age range was so wide. The naturalists drew a picture of a butterfly as she discussed all the different parts of its body. Then the kids all went outside with big nets and tried to catch some butterflies. Unfortunately it had rained pretty hard today and was still cold and drizzly - so there were not many butterflies flying around. Which was too bad as this past week many painted lady butterflies hatched in the area so we were hopeful to see some.

The naturalist and one of the older children each caught a butterfly and the children caught a few other bugs we put in little plastic magnifying cases so the kids could look at all the bugs. They really had a good time being outside and walking around on the trails even with the bad weather and not being able to catch many butterflies, everyone was a good sport about it. Then we went back inside and the kids took turns looking at the butterflies in the terranium, the bugs in the magnifying cases and different part of a butterfly that were set up under the microscope.

Finally there was a nice slide show presentation on butterflies, their life cycle, habitats and the different kinds of butterflies and other interesting information. The kids enjoyed it and got involved in the presentation. The naturalists ended the day with a teaser for our next class on Native Americans and handed out homework for them to complete.

All in all it was a good time and my kids did better than I expected, the baby was in the sling and content the entire time, My son actually wanted to just hold my hand and be by my side most of the time. He loved watching the butterflies in the terranium and spent quite a bit of time building a tower of bugs out of the little plastic magnifying cases. My daughter loved it and had several of her friends there with her and made several new ones. She was disappointed that she didn't catch anything - but overall I think she was just content to be in a nature preserve with other children.

Then we left the class and sat in rush hour traffic while listening to Little House on the Prairie on tape. Our family really enjoys books on tape and both kids seem to really enjoy this story. We will likely finish it up tomorrow when we head home from our homeschool coop (again in rush hour traffic) so we will be looking for another story. Feel free to let me know any suggestions.


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