Backyard Science!

I am so excited with our recent backyard adventures, including: mud play, lots of soccer, bird feeding and today’s science experiment. Not too shabby for January in Toronto.

We know that we have lots of animals in our backgarden. We have spotted a family of raccoons, at least two squirrel families, countless species of birds (including a family of orioles), chipmunks, neighbourhood cats and did I mention squirrels?

I thought we could do a little science experiment around the animals and the food that they might want to consume. I let Aodhan select the food, and we put it outside on a plate that asks our very scientific question: what foods do animals like?

We even made some hypothesis – A is certain that ‘they’ will eat the carrot first and then the potato. Personally, I would go for the vegan pizza and blueberries, but that’s just me.

We plan to go out every day for the next week to inspect the condition of the food and make some best guesses based on the evidence we see.

EDIT!!! All the food was eaten within 24 hours! We woke up in the morning and watched a plethora of squirrels have a picnic in our backgarden! The pizza went first and then the fries… post: the junk food addiction of our squirrel population.

Gender Play!

Since we found out about Aodhan’s existence we have both been very open about how we structure gender and gender expectations around him and about him. As parents we don’t feel that it is our job to give Aodhan his gender ‘coding’ but rather, allow him to find his own comfort level in any gender that he feels he belongs in (or remain a collection of various genders). We have never bought him anything blue because he was a boy, we have encouraged nurturing, sensitivity, empathy and kindness in him – all things that are coded as feminine. For every digger we buy him, we buy him a doll or kitchen equipment. We have also encouraged him to be confident, independent, active and self-aware – behaviours that are applauded if noted in males. As his parents we strongly support and encourage him to experiment with pronouns when playing with toys or when he himself takes on ‘dramatic’/play roles.

Today, while playing soccer outside, I noticed an interesting shift in his dramatic play. For months he has been insisting that he is Dr. Bear (a character from the Franklin stories) who is female. We have gone along with this and encouraged it by buying him doctor attire and making him doctor ‘tools’. When talking about himself in the role of doctor he would always say ‘him’ but could talk about the literary character as a female.

Today he suddenly decided while kicking his soccer ball, that he was no longer Dr. Bear, he was Mrs. Goose (a female librarian), but he was now referring to himself as a she when talking in the third person (“she kicks the ball”).

Interesting. I wonder where this shift in his brain is coming from and where it will take us next. I am really loving watching his imagination develop and grow.

Happy to be sharing this on the It’s Playtime Linky, The Thrifty Thursday and Thinky Linky that happen each week! I am also linking up to Greening Sam & Avery‘s Outdoor Play Linky!

Preschool Teacher


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6 Responses to Backyard Science and Gender Play

  1. That’s a fun activity seeing what foods will be eaten. Very fun.


  2. I love the way you are working with him on being sensitive and having some of those characteristics that are generally thought of as female.
    The outdoor experiment is AWESOME! We have done a similar experiment with ants before, they did not like the veggies so much!
    I would love it if you would link this up to the outdoor play party that I co-host. I think you would find quite a few great ideas that are already linked up and I know people would really enjoy seeing this post!
    Found you through twitter #outdoorplay!

    • hisveganmama says:

      Thanks a bunch for the comment Abbie! Really appreciate it – am trying to get back into blogging after taking a break for 2.5 years. I love your blog, just got a chance to check it out. I will link up for sure, thanks for the heads up. Let’s connect on Twitter?

  3. Lori says:

    What a fun activity and it was so cool that you actually got to see the animals eat the food! I love that you followed the scientific method by making hypotheses :) Thanks for linking up to Thinky Linky Thursday!
    Lori @ Cachey Mama’s Classroom

  4. Katie says:

    The food experiment is AWESOME!! My daughter would seriously LOVE this! And good for you for parenting your son as a “child” and not as a “boy” :D Thanks for sharing at Thrifty Thursday! hope to see you again this week!

  5. Marisa says:

    So interesting to read your perspective regarding parenting and gender role/expectations. I think about it from the perspective of a mother raising girls and we also try to make sure they have airplanes, cars, and tools (as well as dolls, kitchen props etc.). I don’t think, however, that I have given much thought to fostering a spectrum of positive traits and behaviors that could be typically coded as feminine or masculine. Thanks for the provocation!

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