Natural World

April Showers

Let's have fun in the rain with springtime games, crafts, and rainy day books.

Puddle-Jumping

It's raining. It's pouring. The old man might be snoring, but you're not. You're BORED. Tired of being in the house with nothing to do. There's no Cat in the Hat to get things going, but if you've got your galoshes and your rain coat (and a willing grownup) there's something you can do after the rain—puddle-jumping!
Run through the puddles very fast. Or, jump in big puddles as hard as you can. Play follow the leader and have a blast.

Getting Cellular

Cells make up you, your friend, your hamster, and your mom's broccoli surprise. If it's alive or ever was alive, it is made of cells. Space scientists looking for life on Mars are trying to find simple cells-- not little green men, and biologists who search for cures to diseases work with cells. Small as they are, cells determine how life unfolds from its beginning to its end.

Listen, Look, Learn...Birds of North America Online

Birds of North America Online

Whether you are an avid birdwatcher, a student preparing a report on the state bird of Virginia, or just interested in hearing the real drumming sound of a woodpecker, then Birds of North America Online is for you! In addition to the sound recordings of each bird, there are also photographs and often video clips of each species. Articles about the bird’s appearance, food habits, migration, life cycle and much more are also available.

Cats and Kittens Everywhere!

Do you love cats? Whether you have a cat as a pet now or dream about getting one someday, it's still fun to meet cats in stories you can find at the public library. Click on the link for our list, Cats and Kittens Everywhere, to see what adventures the feline furballs are having between the pages.

It's Easy to Make a Bird Feeder

When winter skies turn gray, and the air thickens with chill, life becomes harder for the feathered ones. Food is scarcer, and handouts from us humans can make a difference to them. Take just a few minutes to create a place for the birds to hang out on a frosty day. Once you've got your feeder hung, check out a bird identification book from the library to learn the names of your grateful guests. 

Your First Aquarium

An aquarium is a watery world in miniature. It can be as complicated as you want or just a simple and safe place to keep a beautiful and patient pet. If you're new to fish keeping, you should start with the basics, but even beginners can have a terrific aquarium. Both beta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish or bettas) and goldfish are good for first-timers. They're attractive and not so demanding of a special environment in order to thrive.

Fun with Bubbles!

It's time to break out the pans of soapy water for a wet and wonderful outside Bubble Party. You can buy bubble solution, but it's cheaper to make your own. Take a cup of water, 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup, 4 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, and mix them together gently. Do not mix it so much that it foams.

Pour it into a shallow pan, or seal it tightly to use later. You can either use store-bought bubble wands, or you can twist wire or pipe cleaners into shapes to catch the film. Make sure you keep your hands nice and wet to keep the bubbles from popping, and don't let the little ones drink the bubble mix.

Spider Power

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider
to the fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did
spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you
are there."

--Mary Howitt's classic poem, The Spider and the Fly

From this spider's dread invitation to the silly fly to J.R.R. Tolkien's mammoth spider-being Shelob, these eight-legged wonders have developed a nasty reputation. But spiders are a part of nature and have many fine qualities.

Plant a Tree for You and Me

Have you ever been in a place where there were lots of buildings but no trees? New housing developments or parts of a city that have been neglected for a long time may not have the shady spots and fresh air that trees give. As trees breathe, they let out oxygen that humans and animals need to survive. Their roots hold the ground together, making sure the soil doesn't blow away in the wind. When a tree dies naturally in the forest, its wood becomes a home for insects and a cafeteria for the hungry birds who eat those insects. Trees provide so many good things for the Earth.

Your Own Little World: Create a Terrarium

Whether it's filled with mossy rocks and ferns or sands and cactus, a terrarium is an amazingly fun way to learn more about nature. With a terrarium in your room, something of the outdoors can always be inside.

Terrariums that feature plants (not animals!) lock water inside to keep the soil moist. When the plants transpire, they let out water vapor. When the soil gets warm, it lets out water vapor. All this vapor collects against the top and falls back as rain.