On Saturday, I had the pleasure of having coffee with a dear friend and colleague of mine. She was sweet enough to bring each of my girls books as gifts. While I adored the books she brought for my little one, I especially loved the book she brought for my oldest. She brought her a signed copy of Julie the Rockhound by Gail Langer Karwoski and illustrated by Lisa Downey. My oldest has always been a huge fan of rocks. We have taken trips to caverns, have gone panning for rocks, and are members of the Tellus Museum, so this book was perfect.
Julie the Rockhound is a delightful story about Julie spending the day with her father searching for rocks, quartz to be specific. For any parent that has had their washing machine clogged up because their child stuffs little pebbles in their pockets while on the playground at school, this book is a refreshing story of science and fun. The book is scientifically accurate and explains complex concepts in a way that kept both my seven year old daughter and my 19 month old toddler entertained. I love that the book is a fiction story that packs in learning without it feeling forced for the reader. I also love that this book has a young female girl as the lead character out digging in the dirt with her dad. What a fantastic way to teach your young girls that loving science is completely normal and fun. We need more books like this so my daughters aspire to be scientists instead of princesses and pop stars.
Today, we were lucky enough to be blessed with an absolutely gorgeous January day here in Georgia. The book so inspired my oldest that she asked if we could go on a rock hunt. We headed to one of the area trails and found lots of fun way to find rocks, explore, and play! Here are some of the ways we found fun with rocks...
This awesome trail starts with a boardwalk through a marshy area.
The hunt began along the trail.
We found small rocks and lots of big rocks. We all took turns standing on top of the big ones.
The paths were littered with stepping stones, which were fun to hop from stone to stone. The trails were especially muddy from all the rain we have been having, so the stones were not only fun but functional as well.
We spent time tossing rocks into the nearby stream to see who could make the biggest splash.
In the flooded marshy area, we tried to see how big we could make of the rings as we tossed bigger rocks into the water. (I know it is hard to see, but that is what happens when Georgia Clay mixes with the water.)
When we got home, my daughter washed and then painted several of the rocks to decorate our garden while I put little Miss J down for her nap. Luckily, I had some small bottles of outdoor paint for her to use.
Pretty flowers on the stones to go near the flower beds.
Santa brought Miss M a microscope for Christmas. We used it to take a look at one of the small shiny stones we found on the walk. It is amazing how different things look up close. (If you don't have a microscope, a magnifying glass is a great alternative. Magnifying glasses can also be easily carried out in the field, which makes them a good thing to throw in the backpack.)
Finally, she puts her favorite rocks into her rock box. We found a really great way to store the random assortment of rocks that somehow make it into our house is a cheap tackle-box. There are plenty of compartments to separate out the different types of rocks. (If only I had saved my Caboodles from 20 years ago, she would have a pretty pink tackle-box.)
Rocks aside, my girls, my crazy dog, and I all enjoyed the sunshine, exercise, and fresh air. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, getting outside and into nature. My little scientists in training returned to the house muddy and tired, just the way kids should be.
Do you have a rock hound at home? Any other ideas for play with rocks on a sunny day?