On Tuesday afternoon, a bunch of us from our homeschool group met up at a conservation area very near our house and went on a winter exploration. It was a cold day, but the kids didn’t seem to mind and took of running and playing with their friends right away.

One of the moms led us in looking first for signs of animals that may be around.

Since temperatures have been really mild, we didn’t have any snow. But there was a beach with plenty of sand for us to explore around on, and the kids found a few different kinds of tracks – mostly geese and dogs though :0)

We probably obliterated any other tracks before we found them, but they had fun on the hunt.

The pond had a couple inches of ice on it, so of course, the boys just had to get busy breaking the ice up. There were no major soakers, which is fortunate, because it was a fairly cold day!

Keeker had a grand time traipsing around with all the big kids.

I was holding my breath for most of the time on the sand as it was really wet and muddy, expecting at least someone to do a face plant. No one did though!

After the beach exploration, we moved on down into the woods near some cedar trees to attempt to attract and feed the chickadees. The kids all took off down a slope to some felled trees to explore and climb some more – who can resist?!

The moms stood around for about 5 minutes with their arms extended, hands flat, and black sunflower seeds cupped in our palms.

All it took was a few calls of “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” and a couple whistles from us, and it went from dead silent to hearing the birds echo back the calls, and pretty soon they appeared in the branches above us.

By staying perfectly still and quiet (good thing the kids were all busy down playing in the woods :D) we were able to get them to come and eat right out of our hands! It was amazing!

Pretty soon the kids caught on to what was happening and charged up the hill for a chance to try. Of course, the birds scattered as soon as they arrived.

We distributed the seeds and then it happened.

15 kids stood perfectly still and quiet, frozen like statues, with their arms extended. It was dead silent. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen :0) They waited.

And waited.

And finally their patience was rewarded!

Not everyone got a chance, but a good number of the kids near to the lowest branches got the privilege of having the chickadees eat out of their hands. And were they ever pleased as punch!

What a blessing to be able to participate in this adventure. We’re looking forward to going back with daddy to share the fun with him. We also plan on making some more explorations when there is actually snow on the ground to see what evidence of animals at work are around. There are a couple of really great notebooking pages and unit studies out there (I would consider using these from Shining Dawn Books in future) for exploring the outdoors in all kinds of weather.