Let’s explore Providence Parks and our neighborhoods to discover the world around us. There are many wonderful, free resources for you to access. It is spring here in Providence, and things are changing outdoors every day. Birds are returning and plants are pushing up through the soil —let’s celebrate and safely connect with nature in our city from our homes. Create a journal and share your discoveries with us by tagging #PVDParksExplorer.
Please note: As of Saturday, May 9, all Providence public parks, greenspaces, off-road trails, and dog parks will be open to local public access only but parking will remain closed. All sports fields, courts and playgrounds will remain closed to public access. Do not visit parks, trails or other recreational areas if you have a fever, feel ill or are exhibiting symptoms of illness.
Description: Spring means lots of plants are flowering and many plant seeds are in our local environment. Some of these seeds travel by blowing in the breeze while others have special adaptations to allow them to stick to animals walking by and drop off in a new space. Ask an adult if you can borrow a sock and put it over your shoe. Walk around in the grass and leaves for a few minutes. While walking around, pick up any seeds you see on the ground. Afterwards, pull your sock off and look to see if any seeds stuck. Line up all your seeds. How are they the same? How are they different? What adaptations does the seed have to help it find a place to grow and thrive?
Description: Explore outdoors and see if you notice any patterns, which are repeated decorative designs. These can be found in nature (honeycombs created by bees, petals on a flower, stripes on a bird, spots on a butterfly, etc.) or objects made by humans (shingles on a house, bricks on a sidewalk, lines on a basket, etc.) See if you can find any patterns in your backyard or neighborhood. Make a drawing or write a poem about a pattern(s) that you see.
Description: Observe bugs in your backyard or neighborhood park. What do you notice? How many different bugs can you find?
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Description: Go outside and listen to birds signing. Write a description of what you hear. For more information about how to identify bird song and calls please click here. Check out the Feathered Friends May Take Home activity PDF from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Designed by Patricia Mitter.
Name that Tree
Description: Download vTree, a free mobile app for Android and iPhone. Then, go outside and find an area with trees – it could be in your backyard, in a park, or along a street. Ask “What characteristics can we use to identify trees?” Pick two different trees and observe the differences between the two. Some features of trees you could discuss: leaf type, tips and bottom shape, texture; twigs; fruits, flowers and seeds; bark and the overall tree shape. Thanks to Project Learning Tree for this free family activity.
Adopt a Tree
Description: During spring, many plants and animals are changing as they prepare for warmer months ahead. One way to watch these changes over time is by adopting a tree! Find a tree that you can see from your window or safely visit in your yard over the next few weeks and use the worksheet to learn more about it. Use many of your senses to learn about the tree. After writing down all your observations, make a prediction of what changes you’ll see on your tree next week. Visit or view the same tree as many times as you would like over the next few weeks and take note of all the changes as it prepares for Spring and Summer! Check out the activity page and certificate from Project Learning Tree.
Adopt a Tree Activities (PDF) Adopt a Tree Certificate (PDF)
Actividades para Adoptar un arbol (PDF) Certificado de Adopcion de un Arbol (PDF)
Description: Let’s test out your sense of hearing! All you’ll need is a piece of paper, a pencil, and something to track the time. Find a space (this can be done indoors or in your backyard) you can sit for 5 minutes. Draw an X on your paper (your map) to indicate where you are. If you see anything notable around you that is not going to move, include that on your map to help orient yourself (a tree, your front steps, your couch, etc.) Set your time to let you know when five minutes is up and start listening! Mark down every sound you hear on your map. When your five minutes is up, try to figure out what the sounds came from. Was it something human-made, like a car or plane? Was it natural, like a bird or insect? Can you tell why that animal was making that noise? Can you sort by biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living?) For more information about this activity, please click here.
Description: Have you ever noticed a rainbow in the sky? When might you expect to see a rainbow? Do you know how they are formed? You may usually have to wait until after a rainstorm has cleared and the Sun comes out to see one. How might you create your own rainbow at home? See if you can create one using a glass of water, a mirror, and a flashlight.
Image Credit: https://www.knowitall.org/sites/default/files/scatteringlight_0.png
Description: Animals make different kinds of shelters based on where they live and what their needs are. Birds make nests to protect their young, ants make intricate underground cities, paper wasps make hives, etc. Try making your own shelter by building a fort in your home! You can either build something small or something you can fit inside. Get some advice from the master builders by looking up different animal homes and sketch out your ideas. Be creative with your materials! After it’s built, look at your design sketch you made in the beginning. Does your fort look exactly like what you had sketched? Did you have to make changes as you built it? Why did you make those changes? Would your fort protect you if it was built outside? What types of materials do you think animals need to make their shelters? Always make sure to put things back where they came from once you’re done using your fort.
Description: Look at the sky. Do see any clouds? Watch the sky for one week and observe the clouds. Keep a cloud spotting journal. Do they always look the same? What do you notice? Do you see any shapes? NASA / NOAA Cloud Charts available. Click here for the Cloud Chart. Click here for Spanish Version.
Description: Look out your window to observe your natural environment and look for clues that it is spring. What do you see? Do you see any colors? What do the trees look like? What do you see on the ground? Do you notice any wildlife? What are other things you notice? Draw what you see or write a poem.