Spring has sprung and animals are On the Move

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 code UGEI16 with the password May15 and start reading: bit.ly/2Uoja4I

Free ebook Reading to help ease the transition

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!