Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring (from MacBeth's Opinion)

Here are a few suggestions for getting out and enjoying the fresh spring air. The books listed here may or may not have a completely Spring theme, but rest assured that they are living books, written to inspire and help you in the great outdoors! For more suggestions on getting out in any season, see my Nature Study post. Happy browsing!

Spring Activities

Download Vivaldi's Spring for free!

Books for spring:

Check the weather!

For Spring copywork, try these books of poetry:

Here's an idea:

Try planting the birdseed that you have been feeding out this winter. Sure, you'll find sunflowers and millet growing, but you might be surprised by the other plants which abound. We have found sorghum, buffalo bur, anise and more in a handful. Planting it is easy. Find a space and sprinkle it onto the soil, dusting it over with another handful of soil so the birds don't find it. Water it well, and watch all summer for the different plants which will grow.

Tracking (great for those of you with a muddy season, or late snowfall):

Check under bird feeders for tracks. Can you tell which bird makes which?

Squirrel, dog and cat tracks are also common. Whose tracks are these?

Head for a pond. Compare the sizes of duck, goose, gull, coot, pigeon,

and swan tracks. Any other unusual tracks?

Read _Crinkleroots Book of Animal Tracking_ (out of print, check the

library). How many of the animals in his book live in your area?

Visit the online field guide to animal tracks, or buy a Peterson's Guide to take along.

Make plaster casts of animal tracks.


Remember to keep the feeder full well into spring. Food is scarcest at the end of winter.

Keep an eye out for returning birds--make a wall chart with dates and numbers of arrivals.

Read a living book on birding (as opposed to a field guide), like _Six Little Chickadees_ by Ada Graham (out of print), about ornithologist Cordelia Stanwood and the birds she studied as her life's work. (More living books listed below)

Set up nest boxes, especially bluebird boxes. Build one yourself with these plans.

Put up a bat house or toad house to combat those pesky mosquitoes.


Familiarize yourself with the wild edibles in your area.

Cook with wild edibles (click here for sample recipe).

Get "Wildman" Steve Brill's wild edibles book .


for Young Gardeners

A Child's Garden (my favorite...for inspiration!)

The Family Garden

All About Weeds

The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants

Collecting, Processing and Germinating Seed of Wildland Plants (very cool way to make a more wild garden)

Moss Gardening (great for you fairy house fans, and a treat for those who love green)

The Field and Forest Handy Book : New Ideas for Out of Doors (like the title says...picks up where the boys' handybook leaves off)

The Gardener's Atlas (the geographical origins of popular garden plants)

Making More Plants : The Science, Art and Joy of Propagation (a beautiful science book for all ages)

Waterfalls, Fountains, Pools & Streams (a real how to--for big spaces and small yard)

Discover Nature After Sundown (cool activities, great for spring as wildlife awakens)

American Boy's Handy Book (boys pastimes--includes kites, mole traps, everything!)

American Girl's Handy Book (girls pastimes--crafts, decorating)

Shelters, Shacks and Shanties (kids love to build)

Acorn Pancakes, Dandelion Salad, and other Wild Dishes (simple recipes with wild ingredients)

Milkweed and Winkles: A Wild Child's Cookbook (more simple ideas for cooking with weeds)

Brother Cadfael's Herb Garden (the herb book that goes with the mystery series)

For the younger children:

The Salamander Room

Henry Builds a Cabin (follow up to Henry Hikes to Fitchburg)

Twilight Comes Twice

Up North at the Cabin

Look to the North: A Wolf Pup Diary (picture book)

Linnea in Monet's Garden (visit Giverny with Linnea)

Spring Thaw (picture book)

Crinkleroot's Nature Almanac

Inch by Inch (an inch worm measures his world)

The Little Island (seasons from an interesting perspective)

Wait Till the Moon is Full ("Now, see here, my BIG Warm Mother!")

Bumble Bee (Buzz)

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg (Henry is a very Thoreau-esque bear)

One Small Square (field guide) series:



The Night Sky




Robert Frost

Joyful Noise (poems about bugs--for two voices!)

I Am Phoenix (poems about birds for two voices--a favorite!)

Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in the Early Spring

All the Small Poems

Great Children's Novels for Spring readers:

Coot Club (Easter holiday adventures with Dick and Dot)

Cry of the Crow (a novel about a girl and a crow)

Sarah Plain and Tall (simply written; a lovely spring tale)

Rascal (a boy and his raccoon)

The Wheel on the School (will the storks nest here?)

Rabbit Hill (rabbits wonder: Will the new people plant a garden?)

On the Banks of Plumb Creek (year round, but the spring scenes are quite memorable)

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