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Get Out!

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Published on: Dec. 2, 2009

Last revision: Dec. 17, 2010

growing into a plant. Plus, if you grow vegetables, you get to eat them.

Camp out. Create a buzz. When hummingbirds begin frequenting your feeder, let your kids sit quietly under it. Within minutes the fearless little birds will return, giving your children a front row air show.

Set a record. In mid-May, Missouri has more kinds of birds in the state than at any other time of the year. Arm your kids with binoculars and let them see how many different kinds they can count in a single 24-hour period. Birders call this a “Big Day,” and go to great lengths to break the state record of 208 species.

June

Go log rolling. A whole universe of life exists under fallen logs. Roll one over for your kids and let them watch what crawls, scurries or slithers out from underneath. Be sure to put the log back in its original place when you’re done.

Build a fort in the woods. Witness metamorphosis. Help your kids search the underside of milkweed leaves for monarch caterpillars. Bring a few home, keep them well fed with fresh milkweed, and in a few weeks the hungry caterpillars will turn into beautiful butterflies. For tips on monarch rearing, visit the link listed below.

Go fish. A child’s attention span is usually the limiting factor for fishing trips. Stack the odds in your favor by heading to a pond in June. This is when bluegill spawn, and any lure tossed in the direction of a male protecting his nest will surely elicit a strike.

Catch fireflies. Peruse a prairie. Every June on prairies across Missouri, nature puts on a fireworks display of blooming wildflowers. Pack a picnic lunch, bring along a butterfly net and let your kids romp through one of these multi-colored grasslands. For directions to the nearest prairie, explore the links listed below.

July

Beat the heat. Float an Ozark stream with your kids. The scenery is beautiful, riffles and rapids provide plenty of thrills, and spring-fed pools offer a refreshing respite from midsummer sun. There are plenty of great rivers to choose from. Check out A Paddler’s Guide to Missouri (see MDC Natureshop link listed below) to help you make up your mind.

Skip rocks across a pond or stream. Go froggin’. Dress your kids in clothes you don’t mind getting filthy and head to the nearest pond an hour after sunset. Take along a flashlight with a bright beam and shine

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