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Day 40: Making magical fairy dust and a nature riddle

Outdoor activity ideas and inspiration

From mid-March to the end of May 2020, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) posted a simple outdoor activity idea and nature riddle for kids every weekday. Some days we also posted other resources, like downloadable chapters of the Junior Ranger Activity Book.

Created to support parents who found themselves homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, these activity ideas are a great jumping off point for any outdoor adventure. Click here for a list with links to all 50 activity ideas.

Nature riddle

This bird is highly territorial when nesting and both the male and female will defend it tenaciously. They will not tolerate others of their species close to their nests, and they use aggressive calling and attack flights to scare off intruders. This can lead to the birds picking fights with their reflections in windows and mirrors, with the “battles” going on for hours until the bird either tires or it gets too dark for a reflection to be seen. Click here to read more about this fascinating animal.

Making magical fairy dust

File this away for the next time you get a chance to visit the ocean shoreline.

I often get activity ideas by watching children play. This activity is one that I learned by watching kids be creative. I tried it out during Nature Day Camp for the first time last summer.

I had a camp group with many returning campers who always show great enthusiasm for exploring the Harpswell shoreline. I feel very fond of them (as I do of all campers). I wasn’t sure how this activity would go over, but I found that nearly every camper got into it—all genders, all ages. You can omit the word “fairy” in the introduction if you don’t think it’ll work for your audience.

I gave campers each a tiny jar and said to them:

“We are going to make magical fairy dust from ground up shells and rocks. You can decide what kind of magic powers your dust has. Maybe it could give you the power to remember summer and the ocean and camp. If you want, you could write a word on a shell or rock—something you’ve learned about yourself, something you love about yourself, something you want more of in your life, an intention, a memory or something else.”

And then my excellent co-leader, Kristy Montana, read this poem to them.

maggie and milly and molly and may

by E. E. Cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea