Kids are natural collectors. As they wander through their days, they find treasures in the most unexpected and ordinary of places, and these little bits often end up stashed in pockets or sitting on top of bedside bookshelves at the end of the day. We here at Mud Puddles to Meteors just so happen to be parenting some very enthusiastic collectors, and our houses seem to be forever filled with acorns, seashells, favorite rocks, and even insect specimens.
In the most recent issue of Alphabet Glue (Annie’s other project), there is an activity organized around printing out specimen labels and using them to organize a do-it-yourself natural history museum of sorts; a fun little foray into identifying found specimens and finding a way to safely store them. The whole thing got us thinking about how we are growing this nice little community of nature-enthusiast families through the blog, and how it would be fun to make and share mini-natural history museums amongst all of us who read here.
So, here is the idea: each one of us hits the trail, wanders the neighborhood, or treks to the park, small people in tow. We keep our collective eyes open for the tiny treasures and signs of the natural world that make the place we call home special, and do a little gathering. Then, we will each assemble a box of nature finds, and ship it off to another family living in another place. It is a chance to explore the world close to home with a focus on finding and identifying the everyday symbols of your own natural environment, while also having a chance to learn about the natural world somewhere away from where you are.
If you would like to join the Mud Puddles to Meteors nature exchange please do the following:
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 21, 2013 and include the following information in your e-mail:
- Name (first and last)
- Full mailing address
- Email address
- Link to your blog (if you have one)
- Ages of your children
- If you are willing to ship internationally
- Title the e-mail “Nature Exchange”
Start getting your nature box ready as soon as you sign up so that you will be sure to have plenty of time to find wonderful specimens to share. For details on assembling your exchange items, see the details below.
By October 28th we will match you up with another family and send you an e-mail with the information needed to send your nature box to your match. We will do our best to make matches from different regions but it all depends on who signs up. Once we divide all participants into regions, matches will be made by random selection.
How to assemble your box:
1. Wrap your nature finds in tissue paper or toilet paper to protect them.
2. Place them in the compartments of an egg carton. (If you do not have an egg carton simply package the nature finds in a way that will ensure that they are protected, and include at least 12 items.)
3. Include at least one nature find per section of the egg carton. If you would like to include something larger wrap it carefully and place it along side the carton in the box in which you will be sending the nature finds.
4. Labeling is optional. If you would like to use the labels from Alphabet Glue, you can purchase Volume Fifteen here (for $3 instead of the usual $4 if you enter “exchange” at checkout), but you do not need to use the labels to participate.
If you do use labels, simply print off the labels, fill them out, and tuck them into the egg carton sections or attach to the larger items. If you do not know the name of a specimen that is fine; you may even get help with identification from your exchange partner.
5. Place your egg carton and larger nature finds into a box and pack well with news paper or other packaging supplies.
6. Head to the post and mail your finds off to your partner!
:: Send your box by November 4th at the latest ::
If for any reason you are unable to send a box please contact us and your nature exchange partner as soon as possible. We will make new arrangements at that time.