I spend a lot of time wandering around outdoors,
and while I wander I always keep my eyes peeled
for things that look out of place. Some of these things - animal skulls, dinosaur bones, insects, snake skins, feathers, a mummified bat and hummingbirds, etc. - have made their way into a backpack that I call my "museum-in-a-bag." When I do school visits I spend part of each session describing what I've brought, then pass it all around. I just love watching the kids' reactions to this hands-on element - from the clinical little scientists to the ones who suddenly have an epiphany and trade their initial squeamishness for fascination. And the questions are great - my all-time favorite being: "How did you get the skull out of the fox's head?"
Tip for budding collectors:
Don't bring home anything that smells!