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The PTRC is monitoring COVID-19 and incorporating operational modifications as needed to protect the citizens we serve, our members, our partners, and our staff.  All in-person meetings are canceled through Wednesday, April 29th.  Where applicable, meetings will be held via teleconference. Staff will be available via phone and email. More

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 Teddy Bear Sunflower Activity
 This activity offers a great opportunity to teach kids about roots, stems, leaves, and flowers, and the magic of how plants grow!
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These fluffy, pom pom shaped sunflowers only grow 2-3 feet tall, attract pollinators, and are the perfect garden activity for kids! 

To start your teddy bear sunflowers indoors, pick a sunny windowsill and plant seeds 1/2" deep (1 seed per 6" pot, or 3 seeds per gallon container). Keep the soil damp but not soaked, and in 7-14 days you should start to see your seedlings emerge! Continue to water regularly, and after 3-4 weeks they should be tall enough to transplant outside. Sunflowers like nice, bright sunlight, and they don't like wet feet - so plant them somewhere sunny where the soil drains well.

Change is always difficult, whether you're a person or a plant - so don't fret if your sunflowers look a little droopy after moving them from their pots to their outdoor spot. Just give them lots of water and words of encouragement and in a day or two they should perk up!

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 outdoor math activity

This activity is a great way to introduce your child to math concepts in a fun way that builds confidence.

 

Math is so much more than addition and subtraction;  encourage abstract thinking with this fun outdoor math activity!

Head to a natural area and have your little one collect a wide range of objects (leaves, nuts, twigs, pinecones, etc) and spread them out on a sheet or towel to make them easier to see.

You can ask questions like, "Are some of these items similar to each other?", "How are they similar?", "Which ones do you think belong in the same pile?".

Then try sorting by color, shape, texture, arranging items by size, or counting how many items are in each group.

You can make these exercises more or less challenging depending on your child's age and developmental stage.

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 Gather Nesting Material Activity

This is the time of year when mama and papa birds are busy collecting all sorts of materials to build strong, cozy nests. 
This activity is a great way to help your child understand how common household items can be either helpful or harmful to our feathered friends!
Model critical thinking for your child by asking questions about different substances (glue, plastic, etc.) and whether they are safe for animals.
 

Gather some of the following items and place them (loosely) in suets, baskets, or homemade containers for the birds in your yard to use!

  • pet fur - super soft and warm, just be sure you haven't used topical flea treatments or other chemicals on your pet's fur first
  • dry grasses - free of pesticides or herbicides
  • organic cotton fiber or sheep's wool
  • feathers, twigs, leaves, and pine needles
  • hay or straw

Remember: natural materials are best (no nylon, acrylic, or other man-made materials that don't break down naturally). If you provide cloth or yarn, choose items made of natural fibers and make sure to cut them into pieces that are less than 5 inches long and 1 inch wide to prevent entanglement.

Once you've gathered your materials, you'll need something to put them in. You can get creative with this! Just steer clear of mesh bags or any netting-type material that tiny feet and legs could get caught in. Try suet, a homemade box of twigs or craft sticks (use outdoor, non-toxic glue), grapevine ball or wreath, cardboard egg carton, empty eggshells, or strawberry baskets

Hang your filled containers in trees or bushes, or place them around your yard for the birds to find! 

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NEW! Our Recommendations for Free Educational Apps & Websites!

PBS Learning Media, PreK-12 UNCTV and PBS Learning Media have curated FREE standards-aligned videos, interactive games, and lesson plans for teachers and caregivers of students. All you need to do is create a free account to have access to all of their great resources. 

The Hidden Worlds of the National ParksGoogle Arts & Culture take you on a captivating exploration of five national parks: Kenai Fjords, Hawaii's Volcanoes, Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyon, and Dry Tortugas.

Virtual Tour: YellowstoneExplore the wonders of Yellowstone National Park; see geysers, mud volcanoes, raging rivers, and incredible wildlife ... in your living room!  

SPLASH AND BUBBLES FOR PARENTS AppThis app provides families with conversation starters, videos, and activities to explore ocean science together. Developed in collaboration with early childhood and marine biology experts, the app can be used as a second-screen experience while watching the PBS KIDS series SPLASH AND BUBBLES. When synced with a SPLASH AND BUBBLES episode, the app provides information about relevant animals, environments, and science themes.

iNaturalist AppConnect with nature! One of the world's most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over 750,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What's more, by recording and sharing your observations, you'll create quality research data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature.

 

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