Friday, October 05, 2007

Studying flying squirrels.

This morning Mirek brought the cutest tiny creature I've seen. No, it was not a puppy, a kitten or a chipmunk... It was a flying squirrel! It got trapped in the box and couldn't get out.
With the start of a day like that we were in for a wonderful day of learning about this amazing animal that is so rare to see in the wild since they are nocturnal and rather shy.

We looked it it sitting quietly in the box, probably very sleepy since it was morning. Or maybe it was just scared since we tried to let it go to the ground and it took us a while. But once it felt the freedom and the open space, it hopped up to the tree. It was the squirrel's turn to examine us with the beautiful huge eyes that could do wonders at night to help this animal catch insects, spiders and spot birds' eggs!

So, we went online with the girls and did a research on flying squirrels. We learnt a lot of interesting facts about them, looked at a myriad of photographs and drawings, watched mini videos of the squirrels in flight, saw the little ones and came up with an idea to make a book about these adorable animals.

Ivana and Leona didn't even have time to change from their pajamas and I didn't want to be "a party pooper" and didn't insist on following our usual routine. The whole morning they were busy working on their books, writing the facts and illustrating the story. Leona did the cover all by herself with my help spelling the words out for her, and I wrote the story inside the book holding her hand in mine, then she drew a picture and finished the book with the maze that we had printed earlier from the web helping the squirrel find the nut. She was done pretty fast, but was very pleased with the result.

Ivana was a bit more scrupulous and took her time in finishing the project. That's what she wrote:
1. The term "flying" is misleading. They should be called "gliding" squirrels.
2. They eat slugs, berries, birds' eggs, nuts,acorns, spiders, fruits and seeds.
3. They are nocturnal mammals and owls prey on them.
4. Their life span is 5 years.
6. The babies are called pups.

On the next page she decided to draw the stages of the pups' growth, and then the adult flying squirrel with it's internal organs. She also finished with the maze.

We really enjoying our working and reading together. And now Ivana has suggested to do a book about the black bears, since we saw two just yesterday right by the lake where we go basically every day. So, who needs to go to the Zoo? Should I get a pepper spray next time we encounter the bear? Or do we hide behind the stroller and "play dead"? Hmmm....

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