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Exploring Habitats in Your Backyard

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Check out this month’s sponsor, Time4Learning! 

The past few weeks have been all about habitats in our home. Doodle insists he is an animal whisperer and would spend all his time outdoors if he could. I love a good child-led rabbit hole, so when Doodle told me he was learning all about habitats on Science4Us (part of his Time4Learning subscription), I just knew we needed to take the time to explore them more closely. Luckily, our home is really conducive to learning about animals and habitats. One thing I have loved about living here is all the bugs and toads and bunnies and squirrels that call our yard their home. I’ve never seen so much wildlife in a suburban back yard!

Backyard Science

Science4Us is a really fun program- it covers early elementary science with videos and interactive online activities. I am all about keeping things simple right now (and you’ll see why in a moment when you see that our home is literally completely empty) . . . I only have so much energy and patience in the middle of a move. Having a solid, online, self-led program has been amazing for us right now!

Doodle started this particular unit by doing the activities on Science4Us, and then I logged into the Time4Learning parent portal to see what extension activities they offered for this unit. Science4Us has a ton of worksheets and experiments to do with the kids, and there is plenty of teacher support and lesson plans.

This little video gives you a pretty good feel for how the unit is- this 5 min is only maybe a 12th of the whole unit, and doesn’t show the worksheets or offline content. 

I read everything the unit had to offer us, and off we went!

First, Doodle explored habitats online and read more about different areas of the world, the environment, the weather, and who lives there. Then, we did some research to learn more about where we live now.

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Leading the way for his siblings- he was sure he could find a toad under the bushes! 

Then, we went outside together to see who was calling our backyard a home. We learned that living things need food, water, and shelter to survive, so Doodle poked around to see what the creatures were eating (bugs, and of course, our vegetable garden) and where they could find water (plenty of little puddles and dampness under the bushes!).

He decided what he really wanted to figure out was where all the toads were living. We have a handful of them in our yard, and tend to see them in the early evening- where are they hiding during the day?

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Not under the rocks- although the dog did find some tasty bugs (ewww!) 

Doodle checked under the bushes, behind the woodpile, down in the dirt, and even under the rocks, but couldn’t find any in the heat of the day.

So- back to the drawing board for him. He went online to learn more and discovered that it makes sense that when we find the toads, there is rarely just one. They live in groups called a knot, and often live near water (we have a large pond just down the road and a very damp yard). He checked the bushes one more time to see if he could find some burrowed in the dirt and then declared the toad homes to be a total mystery.

He decided that maybe it was a good thing that he couldn’t find his little toady friends during the day- after all, they needed to stay damp and cool and safe from predators (and, little boys who want to catch them and carry them around all day).

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No toads here! 

And sometimes, that’s just the way it is! We hunted and hunted for those toads, but they were nowhere to be found! He’ll (without a doubt) spend our whole last week here looking for them- if you have any ideas on where they could be hiding, let me know!

In the meantime, I am just grateful he has activities to keep him busy this week while we hang out in our empty home before the move. There is only so much to do- but he can spend hours and hours on Time4Learning, happily soaking up information and getting ideas for activities to do outside.

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