Friday, January 15, 2010


We are once again participating in the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Barbara the creator of the outdoor hour challenges has created a wonderful new eBook for this series. This eBook is a unique product that includes not only ten nature study challenges but three months' worth of art and music appreciation with a winter theme. I am excited to be using this book as the children and I discover the beauty and unity of nature, music and art.

This weeks challenge was cattails in winter. We final had a break from the artic blast that has been gripping us for weeks and were able to get outside today! We were able to find a wonderful colony of cattails just a few miles from our home. The children were fascinated by their softness and quickly deduced how their name was derived. The water surrounding the cattails was completely frozen and the leaves and stalks were very brown and brittle. The kids found a cattail that had "popped" and were marveled by the billowy softness of the down like substance. According to Wiki the disintegrating heads are used by some birds to line their nests. The downy material was also used by Native Americans as tinder for starting fires. Native American tribes also used cattail down to line moccasins, provide bedding, diapers, baby powder, and papoose boards. An Indian name for cattails meant, "fruit for papoose’s bed". We also discovered that cattails have a wide variety of parts that are edible to humans. T decided eating cattails would be disgusting but relented by saying he would "eat them if I was lost and starving". We plan on returning to this colony of cattails throughout the year to document their seasonal changes. It sure was nice to get out of the house today and I look forward to more winter adventures and discoveries.


Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Welcome to the Winter Series of Challenges. You did have a beautiful day to go outdoors to look for your cattails!

I learned something from your post too. "Fruit for the papoose bed" is awesome to know and I will share with my boys this week when we are out on our walks.

Thank you so much for sharing your link with everyone.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom