Ladybug Pupa

We’ve been observing a lot of wildlife in our very own yard lately, though I think that’s because I have two inquisitive little boys who have the freedom to explore the yard often.  The other day my son was taking stems off our butterfly bush (because someone taught us how to propagate it), and he found something interesting attached to the underside of a leaf.  He came to me and said, “I think I found a ladybug pupa.”

I don’t even know where he learned that word, and I wasn’t sure he was right, but silly me, of course he was!  I looked up the life cycle of a ladybug on A Life Cycle App.  Sure enough, one of the pictures of the pupa stage looked exactly like what my son was holding in his hand.  It also said that it takes about one week before the adult ladybug emerges.

So, we put the sprig in a jar with a wee bit of water to keep the leaves alive, and we waited a week.  On the seventh day, we could see it moving.  On the eighth day, it came out!  It’s a yellow ladybug!

We took it back to the place where my son found it and released it.

What wild and wonderful things have you found in your yard?

Educational Television for Children, Part 3 of 3

Part 3 of Will Too Much T.V. Hurt My Children?

This is what happens when we get busy and forget about our afternoon T.V. time! —–>

I thought I’d follow-up my series about watching television with a list of the shows that my kid’s love to watch.  There are, of course, more great shows out there, but this is what we’ve been able to watch via Apple TV/Netflix.  Most of these you can access on Netflix, but there’ s a few we purchased on iTunes that you can’t get on Netflix – I put a star next to those.

If you aren’t already aware of either Apple TV, the Roku Box, or similar gadget, I highly recommend it.  The gadget isn’t too expensive, and if you can get Netflix on it, it’s only $8 a month to have access to some great programming.  All the nature shows listed below were found on Netflix. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail me!

What isn’t listed here:  the movies my kids watch, the sitcoms we occasionally watch together, or shows that they’ve only watched once or twice.  What is listed below makes up 95% of what they watch, and they have watched the kid’s programs over and over.  They usually pick a show and watch through all the episodes we have access to.  Right now my eldest is in a Curious George marathon.

To find out how often my boys watch T.V. and how I regulate it, go to my last post.

Shows they watch on their own:

  • Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse* ~ Very first show for both my boys at the age of 2. The five-year-old still likes it.
  • My Friends Tigger and Pooh* ~ Very prosocial, I believe.
  • Curious George
  • Dinosaur Train
  • Kipper
  • Word World*
  • Disney’s little einstein’s*
  • Super Why! ~ Probably one of the best with helping to learn how to read.
  • Caillou
  • Backyardigans
  • Dora the Explorer
  • Go Diego Go
  • Thomas and Friends
  • Bob the Builder
  • Walking with the Dinosaurs ~ This is probably not for everyone or for very young children.  My oldest son didn’t watch these until he was little older, and it’s only been recently that the 2-year-old started liking them. (No, make that loving them.)  It’s a documentary-like program with computer generated dinosaurs recreating what life might have been for the dinosaurs.  It can be rather gruesome at times too. (We let them watch Walking with the Dinosaurs on their own because we’ve watched with them enough to explain what’s happening.)

A note about nature shows:  Programs depicting how animals live (or how prehistoric animals might have lived) can be violent and sad, but frankly I think super heroes or other adult shows are just as bad, if not worse.

As a typical boy, my five-year-old picked out the animal-eating-other-animal after watching just one or two nature shows, and that is what most of his make-believe is about.  Neither of us introduced it or encouraged it (except for letting him watch nature shows).  It just happened.  I think no matter what he watched or what we hide from him, he’s going to find some way to let this natural, boy aggressive behavior out.

Frankly, I would rather he pretend about animals rather than pretend-play with guns.  My boys don’t watch super-hero cartoons or anything else like that.  For the record, I think stories with super heroes can have some very good, moral lessons in them, but I’m glad we happened to navigate to the world of animals in our house.  Though life in the wild can be cruel, my son understands that animals have to do these things to survive.  He’s learning about the natural world through a scientist’s eyes, and he’s developing a keen appreciation for nature while learning that life is not easy either.

Here are some wonderful documentaries we’ve been able to watch on Netflix.  I think I’ll add to this list as we watch more because it makes for good record-keeping for my son’s portfolio.  (Opps. I haven’t kept this promise – see below.) They are in no particular order, but I put my favorites on top.  Actually, I loved them all!

  • National Geographic: Climbing Redwood Giants
  • National Geographic: Gabon: The Last Eden
  • National Geographic: American Serengeti
  • Nature: Wolverine
  • All of David Attenborough’s wildlife specials (BBC)
  • Turtle: The Incredible Journey
  • The Last Continent
  • Colossal Squid
  • National Geographic: Antarctica Wildlife Adventure
  • National Geographic: Incredible Human Machine
  • Discover Planet Ocean
  • Discover: Prehistoric Planet
  • Journey Into Amazing Caves: IMAX
  • Animal Planet: Safari
  • Beavers: IMAX
  • National Geographic: Creepy Creatures ~ good for Halloween
  • Lizard Kings: On the Trail of the Monitor Lizards: NOVA (PBS)
  • National Geographic: Secret Yosemite
  • National Geographic: Bear Island
  • Wolves in Pardise
  • National Geographic: Thunderbeast
  • At Close Range with National Geographic
  • Antarctic Mission
  • National Geographic: Eden at the End of the World
  • National Geographic: Big Sur: Wild California

Please tell me about any shows I should watch that isn’t listed here!

UPDATE March 2013:  I’m sorry I haven’t kept my promise to update this list, but recently I have begun a Pinterest board of our favorite Netflix shows which I’m adding to (with commentary) as we watch them. Check it out here.