Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Works for Me: Books to Have on Hand

I wasn't all that into bugs before I had children. I wasn't all that into reptiles before I had children. And I wasn't all that into birds before I had children.

Then I had children.

One of the best ways to encourage a love for learning (a top objective for our homeschool and family) is to tack it onto something most kids are curious about from the get go-


All children like animals of some kind, whether it's furry, feathery, fishy or freaky.

Encourage that God given wonder and foster a love for learning by giving them a way to identify and dig up more about the critters they find.

One of the best ways we have found to do this is to buy good field guides on insects, reptiles & amphibians and birds for your area and keep them in an easy to find and easy to get location. Go ahead and buy a set or a quick guide to keep in your vehicle for trips, play dates, park days, and other "who'd a thunk we'd find a really cool animal today, but there it is!" moments.

We bought this one and asked for this one for Christmas and this one for her birthday when HB was only three.

While Google is another great option for identifying critters, we go to the field guides first, for several reasons. They help my kids learn to classify (and they don't even know it), look for details (and they don't even know it), and read for information (and they don't even know it). Best of all, they are hands on.

I have many sweet memories of the kids and I on the ground with a book and a bug in our sights discussing what exactly we had found or of times the kids figured it all by themselves and came to show me.

I think it has helped foster a love for learning in our children that has carried over into other areas of life.

Having field guides on hand Works for Me/Us this Wednesday! Check out We are THAT Family for tips on all kinds of things.

From Our Family to Yours: Buy a set of easy to use and appropriate for your area field guides for insects, reptiles & amphibians, and birds (and wildflowers and trees, if you like!). As soon as your kiddos find a creature, grab the book and start trying to identify it. Even if you (the parent) already know what it is, walk through the steps of figuring it out with your children. After awhile, you won't have to be the one initiating this activity. Your kids will be identifying critters and coming to show you after the fact.

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