The unofficial start to summer is here! While 2020 has not been smooth sailing, we are happy that we can continue to share quality reading and fun activities with little ones and today we are kicking off Summer Reading Under the Sea.
Splash around through 24 underwater and beachy ebooks through August 31st on arbordalepublishing.com. We choses a few of our classic favorites along with some of our newer titles and a mix of fiction and nonfiction for readers to enjoy!
Don’t miss out on the fun! Read our blog weekly for crafts, scavenger hunts, and coloring pages to go along with a theme! Join us next week as we explore the darkest depths of the ocean and the strange creatures that live there!
April showers bring May flowers, and this month there are a few flower centered days to celebrate with a math lesson.
Public Gardens Day is May 8th. Mother’s Day is on May 10th. May 15th is Bring Flowers to Someone Day. And, May 30th is Water a Flower Day.
With all these days to give or enjoy flowers, this is a good month to visit the Fibonacci numbers and learn more about math patterns in nature. You may notice the makeup of a flower begins in a spiral pattern. In addition to this being an efficient way to grow, this spiral will always result in a Fibonacci number.
We demonstrate that with a pinecone! As we trace the spirals with paint, the purple spiral is the 13th! Using this pinecone pattern we have an easy craft where little ones can create their own Fibonacci flowers, but first, you might want to visit Fibonacci Zoo to master the number pattern.
When Eli and his father visit an unusual zoo, they count the creatures in each exhibit. Eli sees one alligator, then one bison, and next two camels. Soon a number pattern emerges and Eli thinks he can predict how many animals will be in the next exhibit. Explore the zoo with Eli as he runs ahead to test his hypothesis. Visit the book page, or download the “For Creative Minds“
Now, Let’s Make Flowers!
To make the flowers you will need: Pinecones Craft paint and paint brushes Garden clippers, or a saw
If you want to make a bouquet, you also need: Floral wire Floral tape
Start by cutting the pinecones into small sections with the clippers or if your pinecone is larger a small saw. (Have an adult do this ahead of time for easier painting)
Choose your paint colors and paintbrush and start creating by painting the scales and center of the pinecone to look like a flower.
Although we did not make a bouquet, you can wrap the wire around the center of the cone, leave two sides long enough to fold down, and then wrap with floral tape to make the stem.
Now count your scales to find the Fibonacci number!
Earth Day is a great day to think about recycling! Not only recycling plastics and glass but, what about the parts of fruits and vegetables that we throw away? In nature, animals seek out discarded objects all the time. Some use these for houses or protection others find tools that are helpful to open or retrieve food.
Right now, we are staying safe at home and may not get to the grocery store as often as before. But with a little water, a little soil, and a bright sunny spot, you can start your vegetable garden inside with leftover plant pieces.
This lesson was inspired by Michelle Lord’s “Nature Recycles: How About You?” illustrated by Cathy Morrison. Before you get started on your vegetable garden, learn more about plants in these titles: Saving Kate’s Flowers, Daisylocks, and The Tree That Bear Climbed.
Once you are ready to plant the veggie tops and bottoms, download our handy observation sheet to record the changes in your fruits and veggies.
After just two days our green onion was sprouting, and now four days later the carrot looks to be sprouting tiny green hairs out of the top. Tag us in your vegetable growing and you could win advance copies of Arbordale’s fall titles.
Traveling may not be possible right now, but we found a few ways to travel without leaving home. Enjoy this reading list with places in nature to visit around the world.
Take in the wonders of nearby landforms! These titles give insight into mountains, wetlands, beaches, salt marsh, deserts, and much more. The “A Day in…” series is a wonderful introduction to some animals that call these habitats home and what you might see if you take a walk, kayak, or climb! For a broader overview of habitats found in your neighborhood, try This Land is Your Land or Habitat Spy.
Come along on a journey through the aquatic habitat of a forested wetland. Meet birds and bobcats, along with the beavers and beetles that call the soggy forest home. Kevin Kurtz continues his award-winning “A Day In” series, and once again delights readers with a rhythmic, nonfiction look into a typical day for the animals that live in this wet habitat.
Travel deep into the ocean way below the surface and you’ll encounter some creatures you never knew existed! This book takes you on a journey through the dark depths of the sea towards the ocean floor. Most ecosystems need sunlight, but deep in the ocean where the sun doesn’t shine animals have adapted some very interesting ways to see, protect themselves, and eat. Discover the unique habitats, adaptations, and food chains of these deep -sea creatures.
Come spend A Day on the Mountain, the follow up to Kevin Kurtz’s award-winning first book, A Day in the Salt Marsh. Rhyming verse and vibrant illustrations take readers up a mountain, from the forested bottom to the snow-covered top. While climbing, they witness the changing habitats and meet the plants and animals that live there. Learn about Black bears, Great Gray Owls, Garter snakes, Clark’s nutcrackers, Bighorn sheep, Hummingbirds, Yellow-bellied marmots, Mountain goats, Salamanders, and Snow fleas.
Enjoy a day in one of the most dynamic habitats on earth: the salt marsh. Fun-to-read, rhyming verse introduces readers to hourly changes in the marsh as the tide comes and goes. Watch the animals that have adapted to this ever-changing environment as they hunt for food or play in the sun, and learn how the marsh grass survives even when it is covered by saltwater twice a day. An activity on adaptations is included in the “For Creative Minds” section.
Take a trip around the world to discover a wide variety of Earth’s landforms and geological features through the rhythmic verse in This Land is Your Land. On the journey encounter plains, plateaus, and rolling hills. Find out how a stream can make a canyon or lava creates an archipelago. Read aloud and discover new terrain with the flip of each page.
Told in rhyming narrative, Habitat Spy invites children to find plants (or algae), invertebrates, birds, and mammals living in thirteen different North American habitats: backyard, beach, bog, cave, desert, forest, meadow, mountain, ocean, plains, pond, river, and swamp. Children will have fun discovering the characteristics of each habitat as they “spy,” identify, and count the resident plants and animals and learn about the interactions between living and non-living things.
While we are all social distancing and getting back to nature, we have noticed an increase of winged friends in the backyard. The bluebirds are beginning to build their nest – they come back to the same spot every spring. The mallards and Canadian Geese are congregating by the pond. And even a few butterflies have landed on the flowers.
It is amazing to see things spring to life as warmer, longer days return.
So, why does this happen?
Not all animals are built for colder climates. And unlike people, who can put our favorite foods on trucks to our local grocery stores, animals must rely on nature to grow their favorite foods. When the weather turns cold, they must go to where the food is still thriving, and now that the sun has returned, they go back to their favorite summer feeding ground.
Even scientists are amazed by the instincts and ability to travel great distances. A butterfly and a whale both cover thousands of miles to get to their favorite feeding grounds.
If you are also noticing an abundance of songbirds in your backyard, here is an easy craft to give the weary travelers a bit of food.
Cookie Cutter Birdfeeder
You will need: Supplies: Mixing bowl, cookie cutters, baking sheet, nonstick cooking spray, straw, and twine 1 ½ cups birdseed ½ cup flour ¼ cup water 2 Tbsp Corn syrup
We put wax paper down just to control the mess. Then, mix birdseed, flour, water, and corn syrup until everything is incorporated.
Spray the cookie sheet and the inside of the cookie cutters with the nonstick cooking spray. Spoon in the mixture pressing it into the shape of the cookie cutter. Then take your straw and poke a hole in the center for the twine to be tied to later
Gently lift the cookie cutter from the tray and start again with another shape!
Bake for 1 ½ hours at your oven’s lowest setting (170°).
Once cooled, tie the twine and place on the tree for birds to enjoy.
If you want to learn more about migration or how animals adapt to seasons, read:
Read these titles and many more FREE until May 15th. Sign in using this site licences codeUGEI16 with the password May15 and start reading: bit.ly/2Uoja4I
And a little inspiration for quality outside time.
We are working from home and know that many of you are too. Also, we know trying to balance educating and entertaining kids is tough. We have decided to allow free reading of our entire collection until May 15th! (Login details below)
Over the next few weeks, we will share reading lists to fit outdoor themes, math themes, science themes, and animals we love. Today we are kicking off with some good books for nature lovers. Go hiking and identify animal signs or dig in the dirt to find precious rocks. Or, explore a local park with a new outlook on the habitat.
Arbordale Publishing is making their digital books available for free to all teachers and students through May 15, 2020. Teachers can use the Learning Management System by setting up an account at https://www.arbordalepublishing.com/user.php and then adding students. Use school site license code UGEI16 with the password May15. If it takes you to the homepage, click on eBook Access (top) and you should be in.
Turn a hike into a chance to spot animal signs
Here are two books that, in very different ways, show how to spot signs that animals have been there and done that. These are great books to read before taking a walk in the woods, and the “For Creative Minds” sections give readers valuable animal information and a field guide to spot tracks, scat, and indents.
Been There, Done That: Reading Animal Signs By Jen Funk Weber, Illustrated by Andrea Gabriel Spotting wildlife is a thrill, but it’s not easy. When Cole comes to visit his friend Helena, he can’t wait to see all the wildlife the forest has to offer—and is disappointed when all he sees are a few birds. Together the kids set out on a hike and encounter plenty of animal signs along the way. Through observation and her knowledge of animal behavior, Helena helps Cole learn what each of the signs means: something had been there; something had done that.
Animal Tracks and Traces By Mary Holland Animals are all around us. While we may not often see them, we can see signs that they’ve been there. Some signs might be simple footprints in snow or mud (tracks) and other signs include chewed or scratched bark, homes or even poop and pee (traces). Children will become animal detectives after learning how to “read” the animal signs left all around. Smart detectives can even figure out what the animals were doing! This is a perfect sequel to Mary Holland’s Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series.
A Little Physical Science for the backyard
Do you have a budding gemologist? What about a future physicist? Or, do you just need a lesson in physical science? Here are three titles that can be turned into backyard fun as well as a science lesson. Use Julie’s guide to rocks and minerals to identify your findings, push and pull your way into a lesson in Newton’s Laws of Motion, or combine math and the six simple machines to build a new fort in the backyard!
Julie the Rockhound By Gail Langer Karowski, Illustrated by Lisa Downey When a young girl finds a sparkly rock buried in the dirt and discovers that it cleans to a beautiful quartz crystal, she is fascinated and becomes Julie the Rockhound. Join Julie as her dad shows her how to dig for minerals and explains the wonders of crystal formation. Combining clever wordplay with earth science, young readers learn about Earth’s most abundant mineral “treasure.”
Newton and Me By Lynne Mayer, Illustrated by Sherry Rogers While at play with his dog, Newton, a young boy discovers the laws of force and motion in his everyday activities. Told in rhyme, Lynne Mayer’s Newton and Me follows these best friends on an adventure as they apply physics to throwing a ball, pulling a wagon, riding a bike, and much more. They will realize that Newton’s Laws of Motion describe experiences they have every day, and they will recognize how forces affect the objects around them. The “For Creative Minds” educational section includes: Force and Motion Fun Facts, Matching Forces, Who Was Newton?, and Newton’s Laws of Motion (2 of 3). Additional teaching activities and interactive quizzes are available on the Arbordale Publishing website.
The Fort on Fourth Street: A Story about the Six Simple Machines By Lois Spangler, Illustrated by Christina Wald When a young child decides to build a fort in the backyard, Grandpa comes forward to help. But they can’t do it alone—they get help from the six simple machines: lever, pulley, inclined plane, wheel and axle, screw, and wedge. Told in cumulative rhyme, similar to The House That Jack Built, readers follow the building process to completion and discover the surprise reason it was built.
We hope you enjoy reading the ebooks, stop by next week and we will have some great habitats to explore! You can also find all these titles in hardcover, paperback, Spanish and Spanish paperback in our online store!
Today we release three new picture books to the world! Happy Book Birthday to authors Mary Holland Jennifer Keats Curtis and Timothy Bradley and illustrator Phyllis Saroff!
Now, let’s meet the books
Mary Holland has written several popular Arbordale titles, including her Animal Anatomy and Adaptationsseries. For Animal Tracks and Traces, she spent days capturing signs that animals were around. She also gives readers a glimpse at the animals that made the tracks, scat or marks.
About the book: Animals are all around us. While we may not often see them, we can see signs that they’ve been there. Some signs might be simple footprints in snow or mud (tracks) and other signs include chewed or scratched bark, homes or even poop and pee (traces). Children will become animal detectives after learning how to “read” the animal signs left all around. Smart detectives can even figure out what the animals were doing! This is a perfect sequel to Mary Holland’s Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series.
Jennifer Keats Curtis is also finding herself writing about familiar themes in Creek Critters. Fans of her books Baby Bear’s Adoption, Moonlight Crab Count, or Salamander Seasonwill love this book too! For this book, she teamed up with the Stroud Water Research Center to show young readers how they can tell if their creek is healthy by finding some bugs.
About the Book: Do you like scavenger hunts? How do you tell if creek water is clean and healthy? Join Lucas and his sister as they act like scientists looking for certain kinds of stream bugs (aquatic macroinvertebrates) that need clean, unpolluted water to survive. What will they find as they turn over rocks, pick up leaves and sort through the mud? Read along to find out if their creek gets a passing grade.
Timothy Bradley has always loved writing about creatures of the past! I am Allosaurus starts a prehistoric series, and he kicks off the series with a favorite dino, the Allosaurus. This book will certainly be loved by beginning readers as they run, eat, and hide with the bright pink Allosaurus. While the text is simple, Bradley’s illustrations are bright, fun, and reflect new research in paleontology.
About the Book: What would it be like to live as a dinosaur? Young readers will discover that dinosaur lives had many similarities to present-day animals: they hatched, ran, hunted, hid from predators, and grew to adulthood. However, the world these creatures from the far past inhabited was very different from that of today; a great example is that a simple thing like grass didn’t yet exist. Repetitive sight words make this a great story for beginning readers and dinosaur enthusiasts alike.
You may have heard a catchy song about a shark recently…
Well, we have a catchy book about a shark – and a few of his friends he meets along the way. Baby Shark, in our case, is looking for his identity and help lies in the knowledge of the “mermaid” or manatee. November is manatee awareness month and time to celebrate the gentle giants of the sea.
Although it may seem unlikely, past sailors have confused the manatee for a siren or a fish-tailed maiden. While the manatee in our story is wise and helpful, real manatees face many challenges in their habitat.
Also nicknamed “sea cow” after the extinct Steller’s sea cow, and possibly because of their slow-moving pace, manatees are very susceptible to boat strike injuries. They require warm water to survive, and a cold winter can be tough on the manatee population. Fertilizer runoff and poisonous algae have also become a major threat.
At 800+ pounds, it is hard to believe that this creature is so vulnerable, but this vegetarian is greatly affected by our environmental influence. Learn more about Manatees through these books with fun facts about the giant marine mammal!
“Who am I?” wonders Shark Baby. When his “mermaid’s purse” egg case is torn loose in a storm, he finds himself on a journey through different ocean habitats: kelp forests, coral reefs, and seagrass meadows. He learns what kind of shark he isn’t, but not what kind he is. He needs to find the “mermaid” to learn where he belongs, but the ocean is big and full of dangers. Will he find out who he is—and what he can do—in time?
This soothing bedtime story explains how ten different marine mammals—animals that live in water but breathe air—sleep in the ocean. Based on up-to-date scientific research, the brief portraits are explained in simple, poetic language. Water Beds invites children to drift into sleep on gentle waves of imagination. The “For Creative Minds” educational section includes fun facts about marine mammal adaptations, and a “Design Your Own Marine Mammal” craft.
All mammals share certain characteristics that set them apart from animal classes. But some mammals live on land and other mammals spend their lives in water—each is adapted to its environment. Land mammals breathe oxygen through nostrils but some marine mammals breathe through blowholes. Compare and contrast mammals that live on land to those that live in the water.
Join Delfina the dolphin as she imagines that she becomes other sea animals: a fish, a sea turtle, a pelican, an octopus, a shark, even a manatee! The incredible morphing illustrations will have children laughing as they learn about the real differences between these ocean animals and their respective classes.
Learn more about each book by clicking the title or visit arbordalepublishing.com to see our entire collection of science picture books!
A recent study revealed that one-in-three birds have vanished since 1970, meaning that in North American, we have 3 billion fewer birds today. This study was a major undertaking by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and couldn’t have been done without the work of citizen scientists.
The numbers are most grim for grassland birds losing 50% of their population, shorebirds are down 37%, and western forest birds have lost 29% of their population. These results show that birds are not adapting well as buildings go up in place of forests and grasslands.
Can you imagine opening your window and not hearing the song of a sparrow ever again? Or seeing a red-winged blackbird on the side of the highway? These common birds are some of the species that have lost a large portion of its population.
There are successes in this story, conservation efforts to save waterfowl, raptors, and turkeys show an increase in populations. Special interest groups and governments have invested in conservation. High-rise buildings give peregrine falcons a nest box and a camera so people can check in on their favorite local raptor. Conservation groups give a bird’s eye view into an eagle nest or a duck pond, and this exposure helps create public awareness.
What else can we do?
Cut down on reflective windows. Nearly 1 billion birds die each year by mistaking reflections for flying space and crash into windows.
People can also keep their purrfect bird hunters inside to chase faux birds. Cats are estimated to kill 2.6 billion birds a year!
Give birds a place to rest or nest by planting native flowers and trees. Flower beds spruce up a yard and give birds a place to rest safely during long flights.
A few things that are not only good for birds, but good for your health too – reduce pesticides, plastics, and drink shade-grown coffee.
Jojo is prepping for an exciting night; it’s time for the bat count! Bats have always been a welcome presence during the summers in the family barn. But over the years, the numbers have dwindled as many bats in the area caught white-nose syndrome. Jojo and her family count the bats and send the numbers to scientists who study bats, to see if the bat population can recover. On a summer evening, the family quietly makes their way to the lawn to watch the sky and count the visitors to their farm.
Even kids can get involved in science! Ecologist Dr. Neeti Bathala and Jennifer Keats Curtis collaborate to bring us the story of these adventurous citizen scientists. Leena and her mom volunteer each summer to count the horseshoe crabs that visit their beach. With their dog Bobie at their sides, the duo spends a night on the shore surveying horseshoe crabs who have come to mate and lay eggs. Readers will learn valuable facts about these ancient animals and how they can get involved in the effort to conserve horseshoe crabs.
Long ago, when the world was young, the magpies’ nests were the envy of all other birds. To help the other birds, Maggie Magpie patiently explained how to build a nest. But some birds were impatient and flew off without listening to all the directions, which is why, to this day, birds’ nests come in all different shapes and sizes. This clever retelling of an old English folktale teaches the importance of careful listening.
Can a swan survive without winter migration? Marcel, a young tundra swan, is tired from the first half of a winter migration. One thousand miles is a long way to fly—too long for Marcel, so he hides in the rushes to stay behind while his parents and the flock continue south. But with the lake nearly frozen over, he soon realizes that he is not cut out for life on ice. Other animals offer advice about how to survive the winter, but their ways of living aren’t right for the swan. Hungry and scared, he falls asleep – only to be awakened by a big surprise!
In beautifully detailed photographs, Mary Holland captures the first few months of a baby barred owl’s life. The huge eyes and fluffy feathers will steal the hearts of readers as they learn how barred owl parents ready their young owlets for the big world outside the nest. Follow along as Otis learns to eat, fights with his sister, and prepares for flight.
Find these titles and many more bird books on arbordalepublishing.com. You can also request them from your favorite library or bookstore!