Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Build a Toad Abode" 6-28-12

Last week, we went to a really great program called "Build a Toad Abode" at Furnace Run Metro Park.  First we watched a Powerpoint presentation about toads, which was enthusiastically given by one of our favorite Naturalists.  Next we went outside for a short hike to gather natural embellishments to decorate our toad abodes with.  Finally, we came inside and hot glued stuff onto broken upside-down flowerpots (The broken part was the "doorway").  Monkey chose lots of flowers and grasses, and I chose sticks and pebbles.  He thoroughly enjoyed the project.  He told me, "Yours looks really great, Mom, but mine's better.  It's too bad you didn't use any beautiful flowers like me."   Afterward, he made friends with another 6-year-old boy who was attending the program and they had fun running around and playing for a bit.  He said, "Mom, this is my new friend Josh!"  I love how boys seem to effortlessly and instantly forge new friendships.  Socialization for the day?  Check.

Proudly showing off his creation.

Ta-daaaa!  Our finished products.

We placed them at the foot of a big pine tree in our yard, in an area where we often find toads.


Oh, and a quick learning moment I wanted to mention.  Monkey is obsessed with the compass / temperature display in our van and often announces our current direction of travel and alerts me to changes in temperature whenever we are driving somewhere.  On the way home, we made some spontaneous and interesting observations about changes in temperature as we traveled.  When we left the park, it was 89 degrees.  (Pretty warm for 8:30pm around here!)  As we drove down the highway we noticed the temperature began to go up a few degrees, reaching 93.  This happened as we were passing through a very developed shopping area with lots of (heat-absorbing) concrete and very little green space.  (This area also happens to be where my part-time job is located, and I always feel like it's hotter there when I come out of work than it is when I get home.  Now I know I'm not crazy.  At least for that particular reason...)  Once we were heading away from that area the temperature started going back down.  We kept paying attention to the gauge and we noticed that the temperature was a few degrees lower when we were at the bottom of a hill than when we were cresting a hill.  I explained to monkey the concept of how heat rises and our observations were consistent with that.

I believe he will retain these simple ideas and concepts, long-term, because a) he was the one wondering about things and asking me questions, and therefore focused and engaged on the subject, b) because we were actively involved in doing something - observing and investigating, and c) I have seen him recall details like this, long after an event; the combination of his interest being piqued and our doing something really seems to cement the information in his mind.

All in all, a very fun outing.  It was especially nice to spend some rare one-on-one time with him, although instead of being glad to have me all to himself, he kept saying he missed Bug (who was home with Daddy) and wished he was there too because he would have had fun.  I love that my boys are such good buddies!


  1. I love the learning moment! He's so interested in the world around him, and you are such a wonderful facilitator to his learning. With all the activities and different groups you introduce the kids to, they are going to be so well rounded! The abodes are lovely also (-:


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