Explore your yard with a beanpole tent

Show kids the importance of nature in your backyard, which all works together to create a healthy environment. Help them make a beanpole tent to explore this important microhabitat.

What you’ll need:
• 10 bamboo poles, 4 to 6 feet tall. (Find these at garden stores or order online; select longer poles if you want to build a taller tent.)
• Twine
• Pole bean seeds
• Climbing flowers (optional)
• Extra soil and compost (optional)

Have kids use the tent to help them explore the biodiversity in their yard. For instance:

• Using the telescope from Challenge 5, have kids track birds in nearby trees. Do the fliers behave differently if the child is sitting in the tent rather than standing outside? See how long the birds will stay in a tree if the kid is hidden versus standing right underneath them.

• Kids can also use the telescope to sit on the porch and watch what critters—squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, etc.—the beanpole might attract to their yard.

• Have children use the magnifier from Challenge 1 to explore the ground as the beans sprout. How is it different from the ground where other plants are growing?

• See if kids are brave enough to go backyard camping at night! How are the sounds different versus during the day? What different types of critters do they hear?

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