It's almost fall, the bees are busy pollinating golden rods, the squirrels are collecting and eating nuts, and the leaves are beginning to change colour. Let's take our children outside for some great learning opportunities about nature in late summer.
In this September newsletter, I'll introduce you to a great game you can do to help kids learn about strategies that different squirrels use for hiding food and how to be inquisitive about different insects you can find lingering on the fall flowers.
In order to get your kids interested in squirrels, just start by asking them some inquisitive questions such as...
1) Why do squirrels bury nuts?
2) How do squirrels organize their nut hoard?
3) Do red squirrels and grey squirrels hid their nuts in groups or individually? Why?
4) Where do squirrels hide their nuts?
5) Do squirrels remember where they hide their nuts?
6) Which predators eat squirrels nuts?
7) How much do you think a squirrel weighs?
8) What do squirrels do when they perceive danger?
9) How many squirrels are in ... Toronto? Why are there so many squirrels?
10) Do squirrels hibernate in the winter?
Activity Ideas- "Oh Nuts!" from 'The Big Book of Nature Activities' by Drew Monkman/Jacob Rodenburg
Red squirrels- Hide their food in "piles". They'll need to find their food during winter. When encountering danger, squirrels touch a tree, indicating that they have climbed to safety.
Gray squirrels- Hide their food "one by one". Like red squirrels, they'll need to find their food during winter. When encountering danger, they too touch a tree".
Jays- Can steal food. Jays are free to watch squirrels hide their food.
Red fox- Eat squirrels and jays. Foxes simply tag an animal to indicate that they have eaten it. Tagged squirrels and jays must return to the start area.