With school out, how about getting kids outside?
With school out the kids will be itching for some down time, but that doesn't mean it has come with a plug attached. Get outside! I know it's so bloody hot out, but really folks, there are people who pay thousands to come vacation here. Just as I was thinking about this, the Tampa-Hillsborough Library System posts this great list of resources at the library to help your budding naturalist learn more about the world around them. Have I mentioned enough how much I *heart* librarians? I really do.
Here's some suggestions:
A number of bird field guides can be found in the library's catalog. Children might also be interested in building a birdhouse to observe these animals. There are many kid-friendly designs online; some examples of which can be found on CraftyBirds.com.
Bring the birds to you
Speaking of birds, they have the book The Complete Birdhouse Book : the Easy Guide to Attracting Nesting Birds, by Donald and Lillian Stokes. It is a great resource for learning about which birds nest in birdhouses, the best location to place your birdhouse and what to do to attract birds to your yard. Florida is host to a variety of interesting birds including the white ibis, the roseate spoonbill (my personal favorite) and of course the pelican.
Everyone knows Florida has alligators and snakes, but how much do you really know about these creatures that are living in or near your backyard? Check out these scaly resources or the the Florida Museum of Natural History also has a great online Florida Snake Identification Guide.
Your local library is also a great place to find books on all the land and water creatures, from otters and manatees to key deer and armadillos.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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