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Outdoor Hour Challenge #45 Mammals: Squirrels

Here comes this week’s challenge. I happen to have a squirrel that visits my backyard and from time to time he gives us a little show. You can be sure we will be doing some direct observation this week. We also noticed some signs of squirrels on our last Winter Wednesday walk so we will be looking up some information about that too.
Outdoor Hour Challenge

#45 Squirrels

(You may also like to use the Autumn Series Challenge for Squirrels for additional information.) 

1. Read pages 233-237 in the Handbook of Nature Study. Use your highlighter to mark the sections with facts you can share with your children. There are plenty of observation suggestions in Lesson 57 on pages 236 and 237. Keep these ideas in mind as you take your nature walk this week.

“The squirrel’s legs are short because he is essentially a climber rather than a runner; the hips are very strong, which insures his power as a jumper, and his leaps are truly remarkable.”

“The squirrel has two pairs of gnawing teeth which are very long and strong, as in all rodents, and he needs to keep busy gnawing hard things with them, or they will grow so long that he cannot use them at all and will starve to death.”

“During the winter, the red squirrel does not remain at home except in the coldest weather, when he lies cozily with his tail wrapped around him like a fur neck-piece to keep him warm.”
Handbook of Nature Study, pages 234 and 235

Here is an additional fact sheet on squirrels:

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 4-6. Take a few minutes after reading each story to have your child narrate to you some interesting points from the story. Use the illustrations on pages 30, 36, and 41 of the book to get the narration going if they are having trouble getting started.

3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. As you walk, discuss where you might find a squirrel in your neighborhood. Remind your child where a squirrel lives and what it eats. If you know you have a squirrel in your yard or at your local park, take along some nuts or seeds to put out and observe the squirrel eating. Never feed a squirrel by hand. Don’t worry if you cannot observe a squirrel this week. Enjoy your outdoor time and observe any mammals that you come into contact with during your walk.

4. For your nature journal you can write out your observations from your squirrel watching. Use the observation suggestions for ideas to include in your entry: describe the color of the fur, how the eyes are placed, what do the paws look like, how does the squirrel climb up and down a tree, the sound the squirrel makes as he expresses himself, show the tracks that the squirrel makes in the snow. If you did not observe a squirrel, you can use any of the additional resources to include in your nature journal this week.

Would you like a printable notebook page to use along with your squirrel nature study?

Squirrel or Rodent Nature Study


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