Lately, we have really been longing for spring. Longing to feel the warm sun on our faces, smell blossoms on the flowering trees, and feel the soft, cool dirt in our hands. We are so looking forward to spending time outside and seeing LIFE again! […]
If you’re anything like me, you may find it difficult to be consistent with Nature Study once the temperature drops and the snow starts to fly. Some years, I abandon our nature studies and hold on to the hope of spring while watching my children […]
Do you do any nature journalling or notebooks with your children? If not, this a great time of year to start! We’ve been enjoying learning all about our local wildflowers as they are appearing both in our backyard an along our hiking trails. We are also amazed at the opportunities for birdwatching close to home, even in our own backyard! The most notable bird we have seen this year was back in February when we spotted a snowy owl; what a truly amazing sight that was!
This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
Nature study is a really great way to keep your learning going during the summer break; it’s fun, gets you into the great outdoors, builds curiosity, and can encompass many different aspects of learning that you might not have though of. Did you ever consider that nature study could encompass physical exercise, science, language arts, and art? Here’s how!
- Physical Exercise – take the kids on a nature hike! You can vary the level of physical activity depending on your own fitness goals and the age of your children. Some trails can be quite challenging or long, so pack a snack, put on your sunscreen and head off on an adventure!
- Science – This one is the most obvious. Nature study ties in especially nicely with biology lessons, but you could also have some fun with earth sciences. Observe the life cycles of birds, insects, etc. Discuss the parts of a plant, invasive species, land formations, and weather.
- Language Arts – Really? Yes, really! Nature journals provide opportunity for your children to practice penmanship, copy beautiful poetry verses about nature, or compose their own thoughts. A great read aloud to accompany your nature studies would be The Burgess Bird Book For Children.
- Art – Sketching what they observe is a great way for children (and parents!) to practice their drawing skills. Explore art further with watercolours or chalk pastels! Allow nature to inspire you!
Here are some recent examples of what we’ve been learning and observing in nature:
Just this past week we were visited by this lovely killdeer mama and two little chicks, not yet able to fly! We were amazed to learn that killdeer eggs take extra long to hatch, and emerge from their shells with their eyes open, ready to run about looking for food!
Back in May, we noticed that two black-capped chickadees were busy coming in and out of a birdhouse on the back of our garage. We watched them for about a month when we began to hear a chorus of cheeping greeting their return after each trip! Such a lovely sound! The chickadees were quite friendly with us, and not at all fearful. They actually had a habit of landing on the line beside me while I was pinning the wash out to dry! Well, one day a week or so ago, the chickadees came no more. I was so disappointed that we missed their exit from the little wood box that had been their home!
We’ve been busy adding our observations to our notebooks. We drew/traced them with watercolour pencils and then went over them with a wet brush which produced a lovely effect. We also used the Chickadee Chalk Art Tutorial from Hodgepodge to make some beautiful pictures. Just yesterday we pulled the house down off of the wall and opened it up to see what they may have left behind. We were wondering if it would be full of egg shells and bird droppings, but all we could see was some white fluff and moss.
This post is linked up at Charlotte Mason Moments, Trivium Tuesdays, Hip Homeschool Hop! and at Weekly Wrap Up.
Spring has officially arrived and we have been spending a lot of time outdoors. We’ve been playing in our backyard, eating on the lawn, and planting our gardens. We’ve also made a few visits to our local conservation area which has 6 kms of trails to explore wetlands, woods and wildlife. On our first visit we found a cracked, hallowed egg and a snake! On our most recent visit we had the opportunity to observe butterflies, birds and several spring blossoms including our beautiful provincial flower, the trillium.
If you would like to use the scavenger hunt I put together, just click here and save yourself a copy. Then go ahead and plan a hunt with your kiddos or organize a group with other homeschoolers! Enjoy the great outdoors!
I also made these cute paper bag nature journals for the kids. I used a free printable from Spell Out Loud for the cover and inside pages. The paper bag journal also has little pockets for saving treasures from your walk, perfect for preschoolers!
I can’t wait to see how everyone likes them! And of course, to be out in nature with such a cute group of nature enthusiasts!
What is your favourite place to go to be out in nature with your children?
Do you want to see some more spring posts? Check out the link up hosted at Teach Beside Me for more spring themed ideas, resources and fun!
I made a delightful discovery a week or so ago while riffling through some boxes in the basement – a tote bag stocked with three pretty notebooks and several pencils. These notebooks were our nature journals from two years ago! I have some sweet memories of walking along trails with my girls, examining wildflowers and pinecones, sketching, and searching field guides to determine what our treasures were. A year and a half ago these books were packed up for our move, and then put into storage while we spent a year in our (quite small) temporary home. I’ve had some fun finding things I had been searching for or things forgotten, but these were the most exciting yet!
This post contains an affiliate link. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
What a perfect time to find these journals too – I had recently purchased Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study and have been gearing up to put it to use while enjoying the beautiful spring weather.
It’s so lovely to look back on Big Sister’s drawings and notes, written two years ago – she’s come a long way! Little Sister had a journal as well, but at two years of age she had filled hers with scribbles. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with now at the age of four!
Mama has a notebook too! My drawings aren’t skilled, but my printing is neat 😉
So far this week we have made journal entries for dandelions (which have invaded our backyard) and the American robin. We have been watching the robins in our neighbourhood and looking up at the trees for their nests (we haven’t spotted any). I’m sure we will be seeing the young robins soon!
How do you include nature studies in your homeschool? Do you keep a nature journal?
Linked up here: Hip Homeschool Hop