Living Science

Today on Facebook one of my friends posted that she had to remove some Black Widow eggs off the bottom of a desk so that she could make it usable. I commented that if it had been me, I might have put the eggs in a jar to see them hatch. I don’t know if I really would have done that, but it got me excited about our ever-growing Natural History specimen collection.
A couple of years ago, at the beach, we began collecting creatures that washed up and putting them into jars with alcohol. We then started collecting insects, and our collection even houses a flying squirrel that my neighbor’s dog killed.


Now some of the kids don’t get into this, but most of them love it! My oldest son went so far as to insist we bring home a two inch octopus that came from a buffet table at the local Chinese restaurant. Now I don’t know about you, but I would rather put an octopus into a jar than into my mouth!!!

Sam even won a contest at the library with our bottled Hercules Beetle. The neat thing is, every creature has a story behind it. The Hercules Beetle (affectionately named Zeus) hit Travis head on in the parking lot at the country store. On the baseball field one night, one of the kids was “attacked” by a Giant Water Bug. Then there was the time my neighbor tried several times to reach me about the baby flying squirrel. Her dogs had killed it, and she was donating it to science!
We only preserve animals that are already dead.
This year, however, we thought we found an empty wasp nest, only to discover that the sacs were hatching in the bag. It was pretty cool to see them emerge.

Here are some of the other critters/natural objects we have: several types of butterflies (mostly found dead on the road). (On a side note- I recently gave a visiting friend a Tiger Swallowtail specimen. They don’t live in her state. She was very touched! Only a true friend would appreciate such a gesture!)…
Back to what we have: a baby snapping turtle, a locust, barnacles, a sea cucumber, fulgurite (sand hardened by lightning), birds’ nests, feathers, shells, rocks, and fossils we found at our creek:

We don’t limit ourselves to dead creatures! We are hatching Monarchs, and earlier this Summer we hatched Black Swallowtails. Then usually we’ll read a book to go along with whatever we are taken with at the moment.

Some of the kids are taken with snakes, some with spiders, and Tommy loves snails!

The fun thing about bringing the objects/creatures inside, is that you can observe them more closely. For example, look at the Lichens woven into this bird nest:

My younger children especially enjoy displaying found objects on our nature table. They rearrange it quite often!

I never intended for this post to be so long. Can you tell science is a passion of mine? Passion or not, however, most kids love this kind of thing. So what are you waiting for?…Start collecting today! Your friends may think you’re a little strange, but at least they can’t say you’re boring. In my house, the Barnacles live next to Vangogh! (There is a Barnacle right under one of Vangogh’s paintings- just noticed that!)

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About The Smithdeal Family

Homeschooling wife and mother to nine wonderful children
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