Back Yard Naturalists

terrariumIf your kids are like mine, they enjoy getting dirty and looking for critters. Their Dad can take the credit for being the naturalist of our family and I have learned along the way. The kids have become very intrigued with outdoor science and biology as a result of their ‘mini-lessons’ and family hikes.

Recently they have taken the initiative to create an outdoor terrarium to examine what life might take up residence there. They scraped a small area of earth and covered it with a piece of plywood. The result was magnificent!

salamander eggs

Within a few days a salamander appeared and they checked on her daily when they arrived home from school. Soon after small clumps of eggs were noted. Oh my were they excited! They examined the terrarium daily and soon noticed several baby ‘sallies’ had hatched.

I have heard it said that there is a diminishing population of Salamanders, but not in our yard.This is likely  due to the fact that we live in a wooded area of Connecticut and have never treated our yard with any type of pesticide. Of course this makes for a rather ugly lawn, but a healthy habitat for wildlife. There are many days I wish for a beautiful lawn, but this experiment has reinvigorated our commitment.


The egg cycle has repeated at least twice and currently we are on the third set of eggs. The next step will be to keep better records of eggs and births. Anyone with suggestions on how to keep the kids excited while making this process more scientific? What do you do to encourage a love for science and learning?