Every winter, my parents leave Canada and drive south to Florida, towing their large fifth wheel behind them. They travel around for a few months—hiking, biking and soaking in the warmth and sunshine. They see incredible wildlife and always share the most gorgeous wildlife photos.
Inspired by their travels, I’ve wanted to do a unit study on Florida swamps for some time. When my parents brought us back an alligator head this past spring, I knew it was time to dig through the photos they posted over the winter, pull together some resources and learn about an absolutely incredible ecosystem: the Florida swamp. I’m excited to share some of these resources with you.
I started by looking through Donald M. Silver’s book One Small Square: Swamp. (Side note: This series, mentioned previously in our list of 50 favourite nature study resources, is amazing.) At the back of One Small Square: Swamp, there is a list of animals that live in this particular habitat. Using that list as a guideline, I raided our collection of Safari Toobs (available at Michaels) and our Sibley Birding Flashcards.
Let’s talk about Safari Toobs for a second. Do you guys use these? They are an incredible teaching tool. They are little plastic tubes that contain a collection of small figures specific to a certain ecosystem, era or other topic. The figures are the perfect size to touch, hold, examine and play with. We use them in so many ways around here!
The Sibley Birding Flashcards are also amazing. Each card has a beautiful illustration of a bird on one side and information on the other. Both the Safari Toobs and Sibley Birding Flashcards added a fun, hands-on element to our unit.
My absolute favourite part of this unit, however, was a storybook called The Swamp Where Gator Hides. We read this during Morning Time—more than once. Based on the poem, “This is the house that Jack built…”, it is an absolutely delightful story about the different kinds of animals that live in a Florida swamp.
One other resource worth mentioning? The Wetlands of Florida by Peggy Sias Lantz and Wendy A. Hale. This book is a treasure. It covers everything from the water cycle to types of wetlands to the animals and plants that live in those wetlands. It’s packed full of wonderful illustrations and useful information.
If you’re doing your own study of Florida swamps, I hope this has pointed you to some helpful resources! And as always, if you have any of your own favourite resources to share, please feel free to list them in the comment section below!