Poinsettia Resource Page

Information
University of Illinois Extension: Poinsettia Facts – Interesting facts and information about Poinsettias. Includes anatomy info, history of the plant, and number facts.

The Spruce:  Poinsettias – Keepers or Compost? – Caring For Your Holiday Poinsettia and Getting It To Bloom Again Next Year (How To)

Teleflora: Meaning & Symbolism of Poinsettias – This short article talks about the many names given to the poinsettia, some history about the person it is named after, and what it symbolizes in different cultures.

Why Christmas.com: Poinsettias At Christmas – Where this plant comes from, how it was used by other cultures, plus an old Mexican legend.


Wikipedia: Poinsettia – Description, Religious and Other Traditional Associations, Creation of the American Poinsettia Industry, Cultivation, Diseases, and Toxicity claims.


Crafts

The following sites have instructions for how to make the craft suggested.


DLTK: Paper Poinsettia Flower & Poinsettia Paper Plate Craft

First Palette Kids’ Crafts: Poinsettia Ornament

Planet Smarty Pants: Poinsettia Crafts for Christmas – 12 Crafts suggested, most made from recycled items.

Artists Helping Children: Christmas Poinsettias – Three poinsettia crafts are offered on this site: One using cardboard tubes, a coloring page, and a finger print picture.

Super Coloring: Poinsettia Coloring Pages – 6 pages offered.

Coloring.ws: Mistletoe and Poinsettia Coloring Pages – 7 poinsettia coloring pages offered.

Videos

YouTube: Poinsettia Playlist –  Learn about the history of poinsettia, how to care for them, make some crafts, and listen to a story read by the author.

Here’s one of the videos in the list… How to fold a poinsettia flower, origami

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Animal Tracker

Many animals leave signs that they have been around. This activity will have you identifying the signs that tell you what it may be and how you can track them.

You will need: Sketchpad and pencil or a camera
Optional: A pocket microscope

What to look for…

This activity suggests that you observe only. Touching is not recommended.


Insects: Look for plants and leaves that have been chewed. Trees with holes. Watch a patch of flowers being pollinated. Movement in the grass. Eggs under leaves. Various stages of larvae. Listen for them. Look for evidence of insect scat as well.

Spiders: Look for their webs between trees and under things. Each spider makes a unique web and can be identified by it if they are not present.

Birds: Look in trees for nests, listen for them. Make a bird feeder and bring them to you. Look up in the sky or on the ground. Watch them on the beach and near water too. 

Mammals: Look for tracks in the dirt, mud or in puddles, on the sidewalk, in the grass. Look for their scat, but don’t touch it.

Reptiles: Snakes can be found sunning themselves at various points of the day. Approaching them is not recommended. Observe only.
Lizards can be found running around in gardens and sunning themselves in the morning.

Amphibians: Look on land and near water. Look for them at night near a porch light.

Fish/Sealife: Watch the water for signs of jumping, schooling and feeding. Some areas may have shrimp or crabs running during certain times of the year. Look for fins out of the water as well. You might be able to catch a dolphin surfing in some areas!

Places to visit…

The beach, a pond, lake, inlets, woods, your back yard, gardens, the park, near lights at night, etc..

Times to look


Early in the morning, at dusk, early evening. Listen throughout the day.

Bring a friend!



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Hunt For June Bugs

June Bug by Fran W.

What is a June bug?

A June bug, sometimes called a May or June beetle, is a type of scarab beetle that can be found all over North America. They can usually be seen swarming lights at night in late May or early June.

Hunt for June bugs…

Look for June bugs around your porch light at night or grab a flashlight and look for them in trees and bushes. Collect a few in a clean jar with holes in the top and use tweezers to examine them gently. Normally these bugs do not bite, so you can pick them up in order to get to know them a little better as well. After studying them for a little while with a magnifying glass, snap a picture, then let them go. 


During the day, they can often be found walking in grass or dead in a bucket of water, a pool, or pool filter. If you find one, pick it up with tweezers so you can examine it more closely with a magnifying glass. 

Suggestions…

Learn more about June bugs by reading and watching the information offered below.
 
Find out what they eat, how they develop, how long they live, where they can be found, and what sounds they make.

Observe how a June bug acts and what it looks like

Identify some of the other bugs and animals that are out at night in addition to the June bug.

Start a collection if you find dead bugs.

Draw a picture of a June bug and where you found or saw it.

Information


Bug Facts: June Bug – Information about where June bugs can be found, what they eat, look like, and their stages of development.

Wikipedia: June Bug – Life cycle information. Also: Phyllophaga




Related Posts:

Summertime Fun – June, Volume 1


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Woodpeckers

Black-rumped Flameback

Wikipedia: Woodpecker – General characteristics, distribution, habitat and movements, behavior: diet and feeding, breeding, and systematic evolution.

All About Birds: Woodpeckers and Allies – Site includes the following info – A variety of woodpeckers, their identification, life history, and a sample of the sounds they make. Some videos have been included for some of the woodpeckers as well.

Defenders:  Woodpeckers: Basic Facts – Info includes – Diet, population, range, behavior, reproduction, and protection status.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Article: 
Woodpecker Images in the Late Prehistoric Southeast

Funschooling & Recreational Learning: Bird Watching Activities – Offers a variety of ideas for bringing birds to your yard.

Connect with Funschooling & Recreational Learning!

Note: If this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured this activity in a blog post, please comment and link back to where the post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about it!  Thank you!


When To Plant

Tomatoes

Anytime of the Year


Urban Farmer: What to Plant Now

Almanac: Gardening 
Click on ‘Personalized Planting Calendar‘, type in your zip code to find out what and when to grow, and when to harvest.

Spring & Summer
Articles & Information

About: Organic Gardening: Vegetable & Herbs To Plant In August


Radish


Fall & Winter
Articles & Information

Mother Nature Network: Fall Vegetable Garden


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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!


Spirals

Wikipedia: Spirals – Spirals and helices, 2D spirals, 3D spirals, In nature, As a symbol, and In art.

Mathematische Basteleien: Spirals – What is a spiral? and types of spiral.

Wolfram MathWorld: Logarithmic Spirals – Equation offered.

Phi: 1.618: The Golden Number: Spirals and the Golden Ration – Article: Fibonacci numbers and Phi are related to spiral growth in nature.

Discover Magazine: Article: Why Is Our Universe Filled With Spirals?

Original Beauty: Spirals In Nature – Site offers a photo gallery of spirals found in nature.

15 Uncanny Examples of the Golden Ration in Nature – Site offers pictures and information about spirals and the Golden Ratio.

Fibonacci in Nature – Site talks about Nature’s Numbering system and offers picture examples.

Video


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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!


Pine Trees

Pine Cones


Birds and Blooms: Make Color-Changing Pine Cones for your fireplace.

Homeschool Ideas: Homeschool Science: Colored Pine Cones

BackyardParent: Pine Cone Bird Feeder

Crafty Morning: Pine Cone Crafts for Kids


Pine Needles


Doodles & Jots: Turn a bunch of pine needles into a paint brush.

Native TechPine Needle Tea

Home Talk: Homemade Pine Needle Facial Toner &  Tartan Pine Needle Sachets

Urban Comfort: Evergreen Imprinted Clay Dishes

Survival Life5 Survival Uses of Pine Resin

Pine Needle VinegarEvergreen Scented Vinegar

Krokotak: FALL STARS from Chestnut Leaf Stalks – Pine needle star craft.


Bark & Twigs


Survival TopicsEdible Pine Bark

eHow: DIY Winter Solstice Lanterns

Trendy Tree: Lighted Pinecone Branch Centerpiece

HowStuff WorksPine Twig Trivet

Mixed Ideas

7 DIY Ways To Make Your House Smell Amazing For The-Holidays


One Acre Farm: 4 Wild Winter Teas & A Chocolate Drink

How Pine Trees Grow


Macmillan McGraw-Hill: Life Cycle Of A Pine Tree – Video and pictures.

Boundless: Life Cycle of a Conifer

Native Plants & Wildlife: Life Cycle of the Long-Leaf Pine Tree


How Lumber Is Made

DIY Sawmills: Turning Logs Into Lumber for Furniture

Videos


Connect with Fran’s World of Discovery!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Bird Watching Activities

We love to watch the birds and hear their cheerful songs throughout the day, so we do our best to make them feel as welcome as possible to keep them coming back.
Having them visit each day gives us the opportunity to get to know them better. We learn what they look like up close, what they like to eat, what they sound like, what time of the year they come around, their eating patterns, who gets along with whom, and, in some cases, who likes to eat them or invade their space.
In order to give them a reason to come around, we make bird feeders from recycled items and offer them a variety of tasty foods and building materials to encourage them to build a nest in our trees.

We used to purchase feeders, but a few of our local squirrels would break into them and throw them to the ground, ruining them! By making our own feeders, we don’t worry about the squirrels any more, we simply make another one!
We’ve made a lot of bird feeders over the years and have repurposed many different types of items. The birds are our biggest critics on what we make, so we take notes on who and what likes and dislikes the feeders we make and the items we offer.
Homemade bird feeders…
We’ve been known to use some unusual items to make our feeders such as:
Milk and juice cartons, plastic water/juice jugs, soda and water bottles, mesh fruit/veggie bags, coconut shell halves, orange and grapefruit halves, coffee cans, pine cones, stale bagels and bread, cans, cardboard tubes, sticks, soup containers, aluminum pie pans, old cups and bowls, etc.
Note: Make sure everything is clean before using it.
We’ll also use sticks, pencils, dowels, craft sticks, duct tape, yarn, wire hangers, recycled fishing line, a hole punch, scissors and anything else we can think of to make and hang our feeders.
Creating one of a kind feeders is something we enjoy doing. I’ll put some items on a table set-up outside, along with some paper and pencils for planning, and we’ll get busy making our feeders.
Tasty treats to offer…
Items to offer the birds: Cereal, nuts, seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, apple peels, birdseed, peanuts, songbird food, popcorn, and peanut butter and bird seed covered items.
During the colder seasons, we’ll make our own suet from leftover bacon grease or lard, corn meal, flour, seeds, nuts, and dried apples. We’ll make a lot and store it in the freezer.
Tip: Fill clean, recycled plastic juice and water bottles with bird seed to make refilling the feeders easier.
Inviting them to stay…

If you would like your birds to live close by, consider offering them bird-nest-making materials such as: Hair, bits of fabric, yarn, twin, shredded paper, laundry lint, pine needles, etc.
These items can be hung from a tree in a mesh bag (such as an orange or onion bag) or a fruit container with openings (such as a berry container).
Once we have the birds at our feeders, we get the chance to watch their habits, draw them, observe them and identify them by shape, color and sound. 
Here are some resources to help you get started.

Bird Identification Sites
Bird guide, cam, basics, an much more.
Search for 800 birds of North America.
Offers the following info: About this guide, how to Bird, how to identify birds, plumage and molt, parts of a bird, classification of birds, bird families, natural history of birds, endangered and threatened birds and bir
d conservation
Identify birds from all over the world.

eNature: Bird Sounds
Learn to identify certain birds by the sounds they make.
Look for free bird watching apps too.

Bird Activities
View an amazing picture journey of a chick that grows into a full grown bird in 36 days.
Instructions for an easy to make bird feeder made from a recycled milk/juice carton.
Suet Recipe – Recipe instructions for making your own suet.
Bird Word Puzzles – Scroll through to find printable word finds and other bird related word activities, coloring pages, and games.
Enchanted Learning: Birds
In addition to finding information about birds on this site, you will find:
Bird Word Find – Printable
Bird Activities – This site offers bird related: rhymes, crafts, and songs. Other activities require a membership to access.
Choose a bird-related jigsaw puzzle to do on line.
Purple Kitty Yarns:Birdhouse Shaped Cross-word Puzzle
Printable birdhouse puzzle with bird-related clues.

Related Activities on Fran’s World of Discovery…
Connect with Fran’s World of Discovery!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Leaf People and Creatures

Leave Monster by Fran W.`

Turn the leaves you collect into people, animals, objects, and fun designs.

You’ll need:


A variety of leaves that have been pressed, construction paper, glue, waxed paper, and heavy books
Optional: Wiggly eyes, yarn, colored pencils, watercolor and a paint brush

What to do:

  • Hunt for a variety of leaves.
  • Press the leaves between newspaper, waxed paper, or recycled grocery bags, and place heavy books on top of them overnight.
  • Use the leaves to create your person, animal, object or design in creative ways. Consider making a background with colored pencils or watercolor paint.
  • Once you like your design, glue it to construction paper and add extras like wiggly eyes and hair (yarn). 
  • Cover with waxed paper and put a few books on top to keep the leaves in place for an hour or so.
  • Hang it up or give it away!
Fall and Leaf activities on Fran’s World of Discovery:


Autumn/Fall                                         Fall Equinox

Fall Holidays and Events                      Fall Leaves

Leaf Prints & Leaf Stencils                      Leaf Hunting                                              
Leaf Identification Activities

Fall and Leaf activities on Fran’s World of Discovery

Fall Equinox                                      Fall Holidays and Events

Fall Leaves                                        
Leaf Hunting

Leaf Prints & Stencils                      Leaf People and Creatures

Colorful Leaf Rubbings                    Leaf Identification Activities 

                     
Experiment: Chromatography of Leaves 

Leaf Identification Activities

If you’ve collected a bunch of leaves on your leaf hunt, here are some fun ways to learn how to identify them:

Identify your leaves – The University of Florida has a printable Botany Handbook filled with information about leaves and plants that you may find useful. It also offers a bunch of plant illustrations here. Check your state’s Extension Office website for great resources as well! 
This site may prove helpful when identifying leaves: 
eNature: Trees

Make leaf identification cards

You will need:
Index cards or cardstock cut to the size you need, something to write with, leaves that have been pressed and acid-free glue

What to do:
Glue each leaf to the blank side of an index card or cardstock, and write down what tree it came from. If you want to write more info about the leaf/tree, do this on the back of the card before gluing the leaf on.

Make leaf print identification cards

You will need: 
Index cards or cardstock cut to the size you need, something to write with, leaves: fresh or pressed, a paint brush and food dye, water color, or non-toxic paint, bowl of water to clean brushes and leaves, and a paper towel to blot brushes and dry the leaves, something to put paint in such as small caps or lids

What to do:
Put a little paint or dye in a lid or a cap, paint the raised side of the leaf with a paint brush, and press it onto the index card. Rinse your leaf off in water and dry it. Write the name of the leaf on the card when the paint dries.
Tip: Markers can be used to make prints too.

Play games with your identification cards

Match Games

  • If you make two identification cards for each of your leaves, you can play a match game with them. If you can see through the card, glue a piece of construction paper behind each one.
  • Consider making one card with a leaf print and the other with the tree name.
  • This game can be played with one or more players.
  • Make 10 or more sets of cards. If you do not have that many leaves, make multiple leaf prints in different colors.


Go Fish Version
Make 15 or more pairs of leaf cards and play with them as you would the game, ‘Go Fish‘. 

Guessing Games

How well do you know your leaves? 

Make 10 or more different cards for the following games.

20 Questions

Play a game of 20 questions with your leaf cards. One player chooses a card but doesn’t tell the other players what it is. Then the players take turns asking yes or no questions to try and guess what leaf it is. After 20 questions (or an agreed on amount), the card can be shown. The player who guesses correctly collects the card, chooses another card from the pile, and the game begins again.

Guess My Leaf

A player chooses a card and describes it to the other players without saying its name. Players take turns trying to guess what leaf is being described. If a player gets it right, they collect the card, and choose a card to start another round. If players need to be shown the card, decide who gets to describe the next card.
Tip: When describing the leaf, players should be allowed to add any information they know about it, and the tree it came from: Where it can be found, the type of leaf it is (if known), how tall the tree can grow, the type of seed it disperses, the technical name for it, etc.

Try This…

When all the leaves have fallen off the tree, use your cards to identify what leaf would grow on that tree.

While the trees are budding, predict what the leaf will look like.

Note: To identify your leaves, you can use the following site to help you out, or ask someone who knows a lot about trees: A knowledgeable neighbor, friend or family member, a local nursery that s
ells trees, an arborist, a horticulturalist, your local Extension Office, etc..


Virginia Tech 
This site has an interactive map of the United States to help you identify the tree you are looking for. Click on your region/state, and put in as much information as you can. Click on any of the tree names provided, and it will take you to a picture that offers some information about that tree. 

Leaf Activities on Fran’s World of Discovery

Fall Leaves                                          Leaf Hunting

Leaf People & Creatures                    Leaf Prints & Stencils

Colorful Leaf Rubbings

Experiment: Chromatography of Leaves