Why do I share nature-related words? It all started when my curiosity was peaked by a friend’s post about her ‘crepuscular‘ cat. I wasn’t familiar with that word so I looked it up. I was so intrigued that there are single words that succinctly describe a phenomenon or emotion. I set off with great motivation to learn other nature-related words. It was also a perfect fit for my children’s nature and home-schooling activities.
Most of the words I share have been used in the English language with references found in literature and science sources. It made sense to me as my hope is that we can all use them comfortably in our everyday lives when noticing and sharing our love for nature. We are, however, increasingly becoming global citizens. And we must as we have a communal responsibility to fully understand the human relationship with the earth and that we are active participants in her well-being.
Inspired by Robert Macfarlane’s book Landmarks, this month’s nature word comes from the Lithuanian language and is most appropriate for the current season in the northern hemisphere.
If you’d like to print a copy, you can do so by clicking here.
If you’d like to follow Robert and see his ‘word of the day’, click here.
Sometimes, it can seem like we wait and wait for the arrival of spring and then all of the sudden it’s here. Not when the calendar says it’s spring but when early spring flowers bloom by the roadsides, tree buds begin to break open, and migrating birds begin to return.
I was so happy to see leaves finally popping out last week, I was practically running from tree to tree to check them all out. This week we noticed that some ferns have emerged and are starting to slowly unfurl. I adore springtime with all the energy of renewed life in the air! And now I am happy to have a new word to add to my nature vocabulary repertoire. I’ll be watching closely for more spring frondescence…
If you’d like to print a copy to pin up or add to your journal, click here to download.
“The dead leaves their rich mosaics
Of olive and gold and brown
Had laid on the rain-wet pavements,
Through all the embowered town.”
What colors come to mind for you when you think of the colors of dying leaves? Olive? Sepia? Copper? I love how the word for this month (from the French feuille morte) conjures up so many different hues, the visual unique for each one of us.
Spend some time with your child noticing the colors of the autumn leaves around you. Bring home a collection or take some photos. Look at the variety. Can you arrange them from darkest to lightest? How else might you categorize them? How would you describe the colors? What do the colors make you think of?
Resources to Inspire:
I hope this word of the month and the resources above help heighten your appreciation for all the shades of fall’s fading leaves.
Have fun exploring!
P.S. If you’d to print a copy of this month’s word, you can download a PDF version.
Wow! I just realized that I started sharing our ‘nature word of the month’ almost one year ago. It was last August that we learned the new-to-us word, crepuscular. Do you remember what it means? It’s a word that my children have remembered because they use it quite regularly when referring to animal behavior. If you need a refresher, you may want to review it with your child when you introduce this month’s word. We’ll be revisiting ‘crepuscular’ in the July nature prompts.
So, we’ve learned the word for being active at dawn or dusk and most children know what word means being active at night, but what word refers to daytime activity? This month we are learning ‘diurnal‘.
Introducing the word…
When introducing new words to your child, keep these simple tips in mind. After defining the word give an example or two. Spend a few moments together naming animals that are active during the day and brainstorm how that may be of benefit to them. Do they need more light for improved vision? Are their prey available during the day? These books will help provide some inspiration
Reinforcing its meaning…
To help your child become more familiar with this new vocabulary word, use it as often as you can. Set up a simple activity such as sorting animal figurines into baskets with diurnal and nocturnal labels (or night and day pictures paired with labels for the pre-reader child). Create a poster on which you could paste a picture on to the appropriate section. Designate a page or two in your nature journal to keep a record of your diurnal and nocturnal related observations.
We’ll be playing with this word again as part of the July nature prompts. Be sure to keep a lookout for them!
An acquaintance recently introduced me to the word ‘crepuscular’, using it in reference to her cat. I found the word fascinating and it made me want to research other unusual words that related to nature. I developed a list and decided to introduce one a month to my children. It could be fun to incorporate them into our nature journaling (as well as other home-education activities).
Would you like to learn along with us? Here’s our first word…
Even though I plan to start in August, we just happen to have Lizi Boyd’s book, Flashlight, checked out from the library. We loved her book Inside Outside (and were inspired to create this activity) so we were anxious to read this one. While flipping through Flashlight, we pointed out which animals we thought were crepuscular and discussed the possible reasons why.
Another good book to read with your children is Daylight Starlight Wildlife.
We’re looking forward to the fun we’ll have exploring crepuscular animals both near and far. My kids are already having fun just saying the word! We hope you have fun with it too and would love for you to share how you and your children explore crepuscular animals.