Saturday, June 22, 2013

Backyard Bingo







































My oldest daughter and I both have first hand experience with the interest and delight children find in nature. When she was five and we were newly moved in, I stood agape, pointing out a bed of large, floppy leaves blanketing our quarter acre woods. "Those are Mayapples!" she confidently exclaimed. "That's nature's umbrella!"

Last month, my precocious Kindergarten botanist, now a competent mother of four, collected her sons from pre-school. Nick immediately launched into an enthusiastic description of "tomatoes." Regaled with the qualities of these sumptuous orbs, mommy listened intently, struggling at points to separate fact from bewilderment over their nature to "spin and spin and spin and get bigger and bigger and bigger!" Huh? Some new fangled bio-farming technique?  It was not until she pulled into the garage while being asked, "Do we have any of those around here?" that she realized he was talking about tornadoes!

The preschool my grandsons attend is a wonderful one. Located on a working farm, the kids plant  produce and feed goats, alpacas and chickens. They harvest, gather eggs and make healthy food from fresh ingredients. Nature hikes through wooded on-site trails are an almost daily part of the school morning, giving me a well initiated and captive audience for the game I planned for the boys and their cousin, Bree.





Backyard Bingo is basically a scavenger hunt. Game boards are made from inverted gift box lids so carefully matched and collected goodies won't go slip-sliding away. Hot glue nine samples indigenous to your hunting area within a grid of sticks. I suppose normal people let it go at that. Not me. Our boards featured my hand crafted seed pod urchins whose little pointed hats were hidden in the woods, waiting to be found alongside other items matching those on their boards.


What fun it was to seek, to gather, and then convene to examine and discuss our treasured finds! Brown oak leaves are leftovers from last fall, you know, but newly sprouted ones are green, full of chlorophyll and ready to begin a new season of growth. Both are from a deciduous tree - those have flat, wide leaves and are different from evergreen shrubs that yield small pointy ones. Bark protects the tree  - and little stones? They've been around for a looong, looong time, breaking off from really, realllly big rocks that lay beneath the ground and pushing their way up to the top, one at a time! Tiny red hats were easy to find, but squirrels and deer? - less simple to spot, and we know exactly why! Camouflage, dear friends...camouflage!





Once again I left the teaching to children, who easily and accurately described to me this place where pretty Mayapple plants still come alive each early spring to shelter woodland critters from the rain.









Our show-and-tell was followed by a tasty lunch and then an indoor sleeping bag campout to further discuss our finds and peruse new pop up picture and sound books about nature. Murmured commentary gradually faded to quiet as, one at a time, sleepy little heads sought, and gratefully sank into pillows.

It was then I realized, despite the absence of a formally declared backyard bingo winner, that there were indeed, prizes. Three of them in fact. And I had won them all!

27 comments:

  1. This is just too cute!!! I love this idea. The kids pics are adorable as well and I see a little guy likes to pose and ham it up for Grandma's pictures! :)

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  2. Just a big thumbs up! Those are three lucky kids to have such a creative grandma.

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  3. Oh how delightful! My nephews and nieces have been asking for a play-date at my house so maybe we will play this together - sounds like great fun :) Thanks for sharing!

    Hugs!

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  4. Your grandsons' preschool sounds like an amazing place, I really wish we had something like that here! And your photos are so beautiful, I love seeing photos of children being so interested in nature. :) I think backyard bingo is a great game to play, they certainly looked like they enjoyed it! They are so lucky having such a creative grandma!

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  5. So cute - it is amazing to see kids with nature and all the fun they have. What a fabulous game - and a fantastic grandma.

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  6. OH I wish we lived in the same neighborhood! Can you imagine the fun we would have? I love the tomato story and the pictures of the Bingo are fabulous. My kind of day -- all about the kids!

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  7. You always amaze me but this post went way beyond that. First you about knocked me off my chair telling me your grands go to a preschool on a working farm. Wow! Your grands will know where their food comes from, how it is grown, and what if anything is on it. And, before I can recuperate from that you explain a backyard bingo game. I'm in love. Imagine - it doesn't need a controller or an app. You are the best grandma ever!

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  8. I love games that deal with the outdoors and nature!! Very clever:))

    Just dropping in from Let's Get Social Sunday to thank you for joining in!

    Still enjoying following via GFC!!

    Hugs

    Evelyn
    @ My Turn for us
    http://www.myturnforus.com/

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  9. Amazing!!! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. Hey, I wondered if they found any of the urchins. :) Best wishes, Linda

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  10. Oh what an awesome sounding school! And what a delightful game. My nearby grandkids are older but I'm going to save this and give it a try with them AND take the idea with me when I visit my younger long-distance grandkids. Thank you! :)

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  11. P.S. Just shared your link on Facebook and Pinterest :) - are you there? If so, let me know and i'll follow too :)

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  12. I love this idea! I shared it on the Grandma's Briefs Facebook page (and Twitter and Google+, too!). Great stuff, Grandma!

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  13. New commenter/follower from
    http://fluffimama.blogspot.com/
    Thanks for linking up today!

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  14. Found you through Meet and Greet. New follower. I really don't get any followers from these hops so I hope you will. http://alewphotography.blogspot.com/

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  15. Fun! You always have great stuff posted on your site. Thanks for visiting Cherished Handmade Treasures' Whatever Wednesday Linky Party. Already a follower through GFC.

    Sandy
    Cherished Handmade Treasures

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  16. New follower through GFC, I found you via Meet and Greet Blog Hop. What fun your day must have been. Isn't being a grandma just the best?
    Mary
    www.fleurdelisquilt.blogspot.com

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  17. I would love for you to share and link up at my weekly TGIF Link Party if you haven't already this week. Your favorite posts, most popular, recent or new! The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday's at midnight. Followed by (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday! http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/. I would be honored if you join us! Have a wonderful week!

    Hugs, Cathy

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  18. Wanted to let you know you have been featured and PINNED tonight at the new party. Linda

    http://www.craftsalamode.com/2013/06/what-to-do-weekends-26.html

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  19. This is a fantastic game and teaches them the love of the outdoors. I hope some of the children of this generation learn to grow things and carry forward their love of nature. We need to get away from processed foods and eat more home grown things.


    http://agutandabutt.blogspot.com/

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  20. Looking forward to trying this when my kids are a little older. I'm pinning it to my "Grandma Ideas" board.

    Visiting from Crafts a la Mode

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  21. Yes, you definitely are the big winner...three beautiful grandchildren...how blessed are YOU?!

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  22. What a fun family activity idea. Thanks for sharing.

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  23. Hey there! Thanks for linking up such a cool craft. Stop by again next week and link up another awesome project!

    Have a wonderful week!
    Susie@bowdabra
    http://bowdabrablog.com

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  24. Sounds like such fun activity for the kids! I love nature & your lovely idea.Thanks for sharing & linking up @ DearCreatives.com & Happy 4th!

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  25. Great post, J...I love the details you put into it! This works for all ages and I wish I'd had it when the kids were altogether!
    We are having so much rain in Georgia..but not stormy....so we do lots of rainy play; puddles, mud, wet sandbox, trying to figure out where the critters take shelter etc. Warm drizzle & rain boots=fun!
    BTW.....everytime I come to your site....I want jelly beans! LOL
    Joan

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  26. I love this - wonderful! Have passed it on to grandma ... as I know she'll want to try it out :-) Alice @ Mums Make Lists

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