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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET • Go on field trips to open spaces, campgrounds, parks, zoos, gardens, farms, lakes, and beaches. A parent once opened up her garden to my class and gave us a tour while she shared her vast knowledge of nature. Then she gave all of the children their own plant. • Name and adopt a tree outside of the classroom window. Take photos of it in fall, winter, and spring, and put those photos in a nature journal. In the fall, make bookmarkers and leaf rubbings. In the winter, make bird feeders and observe the birds. At the end of winter, count the days until the buds burst, and then celebrate spring. On warm days, hold story time under the shade of the tree. Record and place all of the changes that the children observe into the nature journal. • Add a fish bowl to your space. Watching fish in an aquarium can decrease blood pressure. • Expand your sensory play by replacing the usual water or sand with some of these items in the water table: a collection of river rocks goldfish milkweeds birdseed (no peanuts) snow leaves pinecones grasses spring blossoms cattails feathers seashells cedar chips tree branches various types of bark • Add live plants to your space. • Collect rainwater for indoor and outdoor plants. • Instead of heavy bags of potting soil, use peat pellets (available at garden centers) to start flowers, vegetables, and plants. The children can transplant them to a larger container or outside after the plants mature. • Try to get people from the community to bring in unusual animals or pets for a visit, and talk about the attention and care that animals need. Creating Calm 21 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL