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Amanda Law, UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee County

Take a Break from Virtual Learning and Take Your Children Outside

Wonders of your Backyard

There are so many wonders of nature in our own backyards or at a local park. They key is to slow down and look really closely. There are frogs, lizards, dragonflies, birds and unusual plants to be explored. Don’t worry if you don’t know what something is, a phone app can probably help you. I have Google lens and iNaturalist to help me. You take a picture of the subject and in a short moment, the app tries to identify what’s in your photo. One caveat, they are not always accurate, but it helps narrow down the search.

Shady Moist and Sunny Areas

In shady moist areas, you can find frogs hopping around or a funky looking mushroom poking up through the leaf litter. If you explore a sunny area keep your eye out for a Zebra Longwing butterfly- Florida’s state butterfly. Or watch a lizard lounging in the sun or scampering around in search of food.

Early Morning or Evening

In the cooler parts of the day (early morning or early evening) you can find snails peeking out of their shells checking out their surroundings. For more activities checkout this article on kids in nature, read more.

Scavenger Hunt

Challenge your kids to a scavenger hunt. Create your own or get one at 7,620,000 available on the internet. They can look for different shaped leaves, different colored leaves, leaves with edges like saw blades. Hunt for tiny or giant pine cones. Are they dragonflies or hummingbirds whirring around? So many places to explore and discoveries to be made, if get outside. Go outside, look for adventures and step away from the screen!

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