Green Acorns

Connecting children to nature through playful experiences.

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Birds of a Feather: Interesting Names for Flocks of Birds

Birds of a Feather Interesting Bird Flock Names

Whether they are coming or going, chances are you have been seeing groups of migrating birds lately.  We live in the Northeast where it’s rapidly turning chilly and many birds have begun their trek to warmer climates.  We’ve seen (and heard) geese flying in their “V” formation and had masses of grackles stop for a rest in our trees (their group name became obvious).

Has your child ever wondered what groups of various birds are called?  There are some very interesting names:

  • A parliament of owls
  • A wedge of geese
  • A murder of crows
  • A charm of finches
  • A band of jays
  • A herd of wrens
  • A chattering of starlings/grackles
  • A host of sparrows

Click the image below for a printable crossword puzzle to help learn these names…


bird flock names printable

Your child can learn about bird migration here and here.  She can test her knowledge after with this bird migration game.  And why not incorporate some fun crafts and activities?  Here are a few to check out:

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Where Do the Pollinators Go?

Where Do Pollinators Go  Resources for exploring what happens to bees, wasps, hornets and flies during the cold months

During one of our recent walks we noticed a wasp nest high in a tree and my kids were thrilled to have found it.  My children commented that we only seem to discover them in the fall when some of the leaves have fallen off the trees.  The nests are well hidden throughout the summer.  My children also noticed that the nests we find in the fall are vacated.

tree wasp nest

During this past summer our vegetable gardens and hydrangea tree were FULL of so many different kinds of bees, wasps, hornets, and flies.  All at the same time.  They seemed to go about their business without concern for the others’ presence.  We wondered at the time where their nests were hiding and how far they had come to visit our yard.  Considering all of this has led to many questions:  Where did they go?  Will they come back to the same nest in the spring?  Do they even survive the winter?  Do their nests not provide enough protection during the winter months?

pollinator collage

Last winter we learned about how different types of animals survive winter.  You can read about it in our post “Hibernate, Cluster, Burrow, Freeze: How Animals Survive Winter’s Chill“.  It includes links to resources for children as well as related crafts and activities.  But this time we wanted to learn more specifically about pollinator insects.  Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • There are many different insect pollinators.
  • Hornets are a type of wasp.  Wasps and bees belong to the Hymenoptera family of insects.
  • Wasps can be categorized in to two main sub-groups: solitary and social.  Most wasps are solitary.  Learn more about them here and here.
  • Bees and wasps both appear to have a waist.  Wasps’ “waists” (called a petiole), however, are very thin and clearly separate the abdomen from the thorax.
  • Worker wasps and most types of worker bees die in the winter while the fertilized queens hibernate in a protected spot, awakening in the spring to start a new colony.
  • The queen wasps and bees will begin a new nest in the spring.  The old nests will be left behind to deteriorate.
  • Honey bees can survive the winter by huddling together to keep warm.
  • Some lucky flies can winter over in a house or other warm shelter but most die in the cold months.  Their larvae and pupae survive, however, to hatch in the spring.

And here are some books to check out that look at the difference between wasps and bees:

I hope these resources give you and your child a good start on exploring this topic.





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Nature by the Numbers | November 2014

Nature by the Numbers | November 2014

Wow!  I can hardly believe that November is just days away!  October seems a blur to me.  But I love this time of year and won’t let it get away unappreciated.  I am glad that recording in our nature journals regularly keeps us connected with nature and the changes that happen so rapidly sometimes.  It’s nice to slow down, take notice, be intentional.

Have your children been keeping nature journals?  Our monthly prompts seem to be fairly popular so I hope that means “yes”.  I know it can be hard to keep up with sometimes so I hope these prompts help.  In addition to some ideas for your child’s November entries, I wanted to share some resources that discuss the benefits of nature journals (for children and adults alike):

If you’d like more nature journaling inspiration, please check out my Nature Journaling with Kids Pinterest board.

Click on the link below for the November journal prompts…

Nature by the Numbers | November 2014nature by the numbers | November 2014


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Macro Merryment Monday | Discovering new worlds through the details of the everyday

I thought I would share some of my children’s macro shots from the previous week while I try to recover from a respiratory virus.

I’ll be back soon…

snack time

snack time


a cool beetle

inside Queen Anne's Lace

inside a Queen Anne’s Lace

lady bug 1

one lone spot

tree mushrooms lady bug 2



Macro Merryment

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Macro Merryment

My children and I just love heading outdoors with camera in hand on the lookout for interesting, often overlooked, details of the nature we pass by everyday.  By exploring things more closely, whether it’s with a magnifying glass, the macro feature on a camera, or a microscope, intricacies not seen with the naked eyes are revealed and brought to life.  So much can be learned about the subject matter and interest in further exploration sparked.  It can be like discovering a whole new world!

Here are some macro shots from our week…

lichen detailrain drop on blade of grasslate summer pollinatorvine spiralchestnut casing

What did you discover about your world this week?

Fondly, Monique

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Nature By the Numbers | September 2014

Nature By the Numbers | September 2014

Can you feel in the air?  Here in Maine the days are still wonderfully warm but cozy slippers and light-weight fleecies are a must for early morning and evening.  The sunny colors of the last blooms have just about gone by and are being replaced by seed pods and changing leaves.

tansyornamental grasslilly seed podfall maple leaf

Whether it’s the cooler mornings of fall or warmer breezes of spring that you notice, the equinox is approaching and the change of season has begun.

This months ‘Nature By the Numbers’ journaling prompts are all about encouraging your child to notice the changes that are occurring and sparking excitement for what’s to come.  Just click the link below to download a copy that your child can  paste in to her nature journal.

nature journaling prompts Sept 2014

Nature By the Numbers | September 2014

Have a wonder-filled week and happy nature journaling!

- Monique


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Map Painting: A Sense of Place Activity

Map Painting: A Sense of Place Activity


Developing one’s sense of place is something that occurs over time and is woven from many different experiences.  You can, however, help enhance children’s connection to their community, encourage more awareness of the environment, and help nurture their sense of place with some planned activities.  I’m over at Playful Learning today sharing a lovely idea to get you started:  Map Painting

Stayed tuned for more activity ideas for exploring sense of place with children…


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