Thursday, October 30, 2008

Maple Tree and a Romp in the Woods

We combined two Outdoor Challenges, #34 Maple Tree Study and #36 Autumn Tree Study, because the tree we chose last Spring as our focus for the year-round tree study is a maple in our yard. The weather is so perfect today, though! We ended up spending quite a bit of time wandering around and exploring in our wooded back yard.

I couldn't think of a better way to spend the afternoon!

First, the maple tree:

This tree was planted by a landscape company when our house was built, so we know that it is called an October Glory Maple. I find the name a little ironic, because it has never turned its gorgeous, showy red until well into November! You can see in the photos that the leaves are just beginning to show the green giving way to red.

We do have other types of maple trees in our yard, most of them are turning more yellow than our focus tree. None are quite as striking in color as the October Glory Maple, though. Cullen chose this leaf to bring in for a simple leaf rubbing.

I offered him a little bit of syrup to taste while I put away paper and crayons. While he licked his fingers, I explained how maple syrup is made from the sap of certain maple trees. That was amazing news to him. I'm not sure he is entirely convinced that I'm telling the truth about it!

Here is a photo of our back yard. I absolutely love it! Cullen hasn't spent nearly enough time exploring in it, though. I am determined to change that. He was able to recognize oaks and maples. We found little baby trees and ferns and a dried up stream bed. Cullen discovered a well-hidden spider web among the crunchy leaves underfoot, and had me hush to hear the cricket song. I couldn't help but smile that he was leading me as much as I was leading him.

He also found that our largest tree has a nice-sized hole about eight feet off the ground. We wondered what might have its home in there, but we couldn't get high enough to take a peek inside.

Cullen usually resists writing much about one of our outings, so I tried giving him prompts or sentence starters with a blank to finish. He eagerly filled in his findings and thoughts with this format. We'll definitely be using this method again!

We both enjoyed being outdoors so much, I think we may take advantage of the beautiful weather and look for a different type of tree tomorrow afternoon.


jamie in rose cottage said...

Fabulous post! Fabulous study! Make sure you post this over on Barb's Handbook of Nature Study, too..she'll love it. :-)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

This was a wonderful post. I love your words and the sentiments behind them and I know that your son will be growing in his love for nature every week.

I loved reading about and seeing your maple. Very pretty.

Thanks for sharing your afternoon and your journal pages.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

jamie in rose cottage said...

See--told you she'd love it! ;-)

Christin said...

You have lots to explore back there! How nice! :)