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Learning About Seeds Preschool Activities

When spring time rolls around it’s the perfect time to start learning about seeds. We want to share a handful of preschool activities (dirty fingers as well as clean and dry ones) we think you can easily incorporate into your homeschool to help with learning about seeds.

Learning About Seeds Preschool Activities

1. Plant seeds!

We purchased some seed kits from the dollar spot at Target. We do this every year because my toddlers love planting and taking care of their seeds and they usually end up loving these seeds to death. My 3 younger girls each planted different plants: basil, sunflowers, and poppy flowers.

2. Seed sort nature activity

Use 3 -5 different seeds (depending on your child’s ability) and have them sort the seeds by like kinds. What do they notice about seeds? Are seeds all the same shape? Same color? Same size? Homeschool Nature Study Members can print the Seed Sorting Worksheet from their dashboard to compare 4 different types of seeds.

Look around your vegetables and fruits to find seeds. Notice seeds we eat and seeds we discard (cucumbers vs peppers). Notice seeds on the outside of fruits and seeds deep in vegetables. Compare little seeds of an apple to a big seed of an avocado.

4. Make a seed collage

Using an assortment of seeds, glue seeds on a heavier piece of cardstock or cardboard. Arrange seeds to spell out your children’s names. I promise it’ll be, F U N !

5. Learn plant vocabulary

Homeschool Nature Study Members can print the Parts of a Plant and Tree Life Cycle worksheets from their dashboard to learn and match plant vocabulary.

6. Make a flower craft (also can be used as a Bible lesson.)

Print the Don’t Worry Flowers. Children can learn about how God knows what they need and cares for them.

More Nature Resources For Preschoolers

Our monthly membership has everything you need for studying nature together as a family. Learn more about our creative and engaging resources.

Written by Maureen Spell. Updated and new resources created by Stef Layton.

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Creeks and Waterfalls Nature Study

This summer my children and I joined a creeks and waterfalls nature study group. It was a win-win for me because it got us outside, it got us exploring our state and my friend Julie planned all the road trips! This was a great way to have scheduled, outdoor learning time during the summer. Here’s a few tips and resources that we utilized during our various creeks and waterfalls Nature Study.

Use these great ideas for your next Creeks and Waterfalls nature study. Don't forget to bring along the helpful list of resources.

How to Plan a Creeks and Waterfalls Nature Study

Check with local nature centers and museums for hands-on activities and nature talks. If you have a group, many of these agencies will provide a resource person to give an hour presentation or even lead your group on a nature walk.

Check with state parks and federal parks in your area.

Check online reviews. It’s great people share what the area is like so you know for sure what to pack, if there are restrooms (a must), picnic tables, admission charge, swimming areas, etc.

Helpful Hiking Supplies

Use these great ideas for your next Creeks and Waterfalls nature study. Don't forget to bring along the helpful list of resources.

I have four children. I did not want to be the Momma pack mule, so I got nylon travel backpacks for each of my kids. In their back packs they are in charge of carrying their water bottle, water shoes and a towel. This has worked out great because it gives them all ownership and helps them know what they are in charge of getting ready before each trip.

Other items to consider bringing along would be a walking stick, a net, a hat and a pen. We also did a little geocaching while on our nature hikes.

I usually carry a backpack and in addition to my water shoes and water bottle, I have a few other supplies too:

  • Insect repellent and mineral sunscreen that is plant-based, natural and safe for my children and the environment. (I put some of the insect repellent in a spray bottle and a roller bottle for quick applications.)
  • Seedling baby wipes. I put these in a small baggie and carry with us. These have come in very handy!
  • Arnica: great for any bumps or bruises
  • Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier: I love this because there is no yucky stuff in it! This is a key item– it comes in handy when the kids pick up crawdads, frogs or dead fish
  • Lipbalm: I don’t like to travel without it!
  • Flashlight: one of our adventures had a cave. You never know when you need a flashlight!
  • Waterproof band-aids – because, kids!

Have a Purpose

creek nature study

Often when I’m trying to get the kids outside – we walk around aimlessly hoping something magical will pop out of the trees and “wow” us. But most often, nothing exciting happens. Then the children get bored. Too quickly. When you have a purpose – you’re on the hunt to discover something. If it’s counting how many different wild flowers you see, a bird scavenger hunt, catching frogs and toads, noticing butterflies, discovering different rocks, tree rubbing interesting bark, watching out for fish, or just “climbing cool rocks” … they have a purpose and are more invested in the nature study. Successful learning opportunities are key. If anything else pops up, like the biggest daddy long legs they’ve ever seen – then it’s a bonus!

Homeschool Nature Study Resources

Looking for more resources to add to your Creek and Waterfall Nature Study? Check out a few more posts & downloads before you go!

Become a Member!

Not yet a Member?! Spring has sprung and it’s the perfect time to incorporate Nature Study into your homeschool. We offer many tips, ideas, nature studies, worksheets & helpful downloads, plus encouragement along the way! Homeschool Nature Study is perfect for preschoolers, elementary, middle schoolers, and high schoolers! Yes – we believe Homeschool Nature Study works for ALL AGES. Join the community!

nature studies
Use these great ideas for your next Creeks and Waterfalls nature study. Don't forget to bring along the helpful list of resources.

Written by Maureen Spell. Updated by Stef Layton.

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Observe Worms With Preschoolers Nature Study

 It usually starts with one of those questions. Why do we need worms? It’s much easier to understand and even appreciate worms when you get little hands dirty. Enjoy these hands-on activities when you observe worms with preschoolers!

Create a Wormery

I came across a wormery craft from Karrie McAllister and knew this is what we needed to make. Don’t worry, these worms are contained and quite easy to take care of. You probably already own all the materials needed to make this worm house.

Worm House Supplies:

1 clean 2 liter plastic bottle
1 plastic water bottle filled with room temperature water
scissors
tape
dark construction paper
soil
sand
dried leaves or hay
oatmeal

First remove the top of the bottle. Use tape to cover the edges as they might be sharp. We don’t want any fingers or worms to get hurt.

Place a water bottle in the middle of the pop bottle.  This is to force the worms to move to the outside of the bottle, instead of hiding in the middle. Make sure the bottle is filled with room temperature water. Next go outside and fill the container. Start with a layer of sand, then a layer of soil. You can also add a layer of dry leaves or hay. Alternate layers until the bottle is 3/4ths filled.

Now the hunt begins. Ask your child where they think the best place to find worms would be.  Let them explore and see how many they can find. My 3yr. old found a couple worms in the garden, but found even more under rocks and planters. We gathered our handful of worms and placed them in our homemade worm home.

Make sure the soil is damp, but not wet. Add some dry leaves or hay along with oatmeal crumbs.

Wrap a piece of black construction paper around the bottle. Let it sit for a day or two before removing the paper. While you are waiting, take some time to read a couple books on worms!

We started our worm study all because of a question my child asked.

Observe Worms with Preschoolers

worms

This is what we saw the first time we removed the black paper from our worm house (wormery.) It was like a big I Spy worm bottle! We were able to see the worm burrows and how some of the layers of dirt and sand were mixed together. It was hard to get a good view of the worms though since they were covered in dirt, so we went back outside to find a couple more worms for up-close observation.

We needed to find a couple bigger worms. My 3yr. old and I went on another worm hunt. I asked if she remembered where we found the worms last time (under rocks and in the garden.) We talked about how those places were dark and damp–just how worms like their environment to be. It was a challenge, but we finally found a couple of big worms. (You could purchase them at a bait store too.)

Now we could really see the worm. I encouraged my daughters to touch the worm. How did it feel? What else is special about a worm? Do you see the lines on the worm? Those ringed parts are called segments. Which end do you think is the worm’s head?

Next I placed a gummy worm next to the real worm. I asked my daughters the same questions. Touch the gummy worm. How does it feel? Are these worms different? My point with this observation activity was to notice similarities and differences, and talk about living and non-living things.

After observing the worms, we did a  worm experiment. We wanted to find out which type of environment the worm preferred— the dry paper towel or the wet paper towel. Position the worm so that it is across both halves of the towel. Sit and watch! Record the results. Try it again. Did you get the same result? What happens if you flip the worm around? Do you get the same results?

We recorded our worm observations on the Worm Observations Worksheet. Homeschool Nature Study Members can print this from your dashboard.

Vertebrates vs Invertebrates

Another great conversation to have with young children when observing animals is to ask the simple question, “Do you think they have a back bone? What would it look like if we didn’t have a back bone? Do they have a skull? Do they have bones?”.

Homeschool Nature Study Members can print the Vertebrates vs Invertebrates Worksheet. Cut out the animals and glue them under the correct category. Then act out how a worm moves without leg bones.

Worm Chalk Art

Head over to You Are An Artist & find this great Farm Art & worms chalk masterpiece. Enjoy the time together and get your hands dirty – soil or chalk – observe worms with preschoolers!

Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Join us for even more homeschool nature studies for all the seasons! With a nature study each week, you will have joyful learning leading all the way through the homeschool year for all your ages!

Not yet a Homeschool Nature Study Member? We’d love for you to join us and take advantage of the numerous studies – already planned out for you, craft ideas, free worksheets, and #outdoorhourchallenge fun! Become a member and bring the love of learning nature and science easily into your home.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!


Written by Maureen Spell. Updated and new resources created by Stef Layton.

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5 Ways to Teach Preschoolers About Weather

Teach preschoolers about weather with these 5 great hands-on learning ideas your homeschool children will love.

5 Ways to Teach Preschoolers About Weather

Weather can be a fascinating subject to explore with preschoolers. Weather is something that is a constant presence in our lives, yet it can change from one hour to the next. It can be serene and beautiful, warm and cozy, cold and bitter, and even a bit scary. Here are a few simple, yet fun, ways that you can teach preschoolers about weather.

Chart the Weather

Each day, for a month, chart the weather. Take your preschooler outside (or to the window) and ask “What’s the weather like today?” Encourage them to use as many descriptive terms as they can. In the beginning, suggest words: sunny, windy, cloudy, rainy, stormy, snowy, etc. Print out little pictures that represent the various types of weather so that they have a visual representation to choose from. This not only helps them to become more observant about the weather, it also helps them to further develop their vocabulary.

For example, if they say that it is cold outside, introduce them to synonyms like chilly and freezing. If they say it is windy, teach them words like blustery and breezy. At the end of the month review how much the weather has changed just over the course of a few weeks.

Members, print the Weather Observations Record Chart and Weather Words for Preschoolers in your dashboard and add this weather watching activity to your morning time.

The Four Seasons

Another great way to learn about how the weather changes over time is to talk about the four seasons. Hand each child 4 sheets of paper and a variety of materials (crayons, markers, magazines, kid-safe scissors, glue, etc.). Label each page with one of the four seasons. Then, for each one chat about the various aspects of that specific season. Questions to ask: What is the weather like? What kind of activities can you do today? How does the yard look? What kind of clothes do you wear? Help each child to decorate each page accordingly.

Get creative with each page for the current season. For example, in the spring collect a freshly bloomed flower. This is a fun way to combine art and science. You can always create wonderful Chalk Art pictures with inspiration from Spring Homeschool Nature Study with Art.

Track a Thunderstorm

Has the weather channel predicted a thunderstorm in your area? You and your preschoolers can track the thunderstorm as it makes its way across the sky. All you need is a stopwatch and your ears. More than likely, there will be lightning and thunder. Explain to your preschooler that light travels faster than sound. So even though lightning and thunder actually happen at the same time, we see the lightning first. After you have explained that, wait for a flash of lightning. Once you see it, either use your stopwatch or count the number of seconds vocally until you hear thunder. For every 5 seconds that you count, the storm is a mile away. For example, if you count five seconds between the lightning and thunder, the storm is one mile away. If you count ten seconds between the two, then the storm is two miles away. This is also a fun way to practice counting together and even introduce other languages!

The Water Cycle

The Magic School Bus Season 2 covered the water cycle: The Magic School Bus: Wet All Over.  Replicate the process with the following experiment. Grab a small cup and fill 1/3 of it with water. Place the cup in the middle of a big plastic bowl, then cover the bowl with saran wrap. Feel free to use string or yarn to keep the saran wrap in place. Now place the covered bowl in sunlight and watch as the sun causes the water to evaporate, condense onto the saran wrap, and then drip into the bowl. This is a fun experiment to recreate the water cycle right in your home!

Members can print the Water Cycle Worksheet in your Dashboard to fill out after the experiment.

Make a Rainbow

Is it just me or does your preschooler love discovering rainbows in the sky? There’s something about them that seems downright magical. Delight your preschooler one sunny day by telling them you are going to make a rainbow. All you need is sunlight and a water hose connected to a working spout. Turn the water on. Once the water is flowing out of the hose, put your thumb over part of the nozzle until it sprays out. Hold the hose into the air with the water still spraying and turn until the sunlight hits the water and creates your very own rainbow. Ask your preschooler to see how many colors they can identify. This could be a great way to help reinforce what they have learned about colors.

Teach preschoolers about weather with these 5 great hands-on learning ideas your homeschool children will love.

Teaching Preschoolers About Weather

As you can see, there are a variety of ways that you can explore weather on a regular basis.

Not yet a Homeschool Nature Study Member? We’d love for you to join us and take advantage of the numerous studies – already planned out for you, craft ideas, free worksheets, and #outdoorhourchallenge fun! Become a member and bring the love of learning nature and science easily into your home.

Be Inspired. Be Encouraged. Get Outdoors!

nature studies

Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

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Hummingbird Nature Study Activities For Kids

Did you know that there are over 300 species of hummingbirds? These tiny, powerful creatures are fascinating to watch! Enjoy a hummingbird nature study and learn all about these tiny creatures!

Did you know that there are over 300 species of hummingbirds? These tiny, powerful creatures are fascinating to watch! Enjoy a hummingbird nature study and learn all about these tiny creatures!

Hummingbird Nature Study Activities For Kids

One of the first activities we did was to make “nectar” for our hummingbird feeder. We added 4 parts water to 1 part sugar in a pan and heated it until it was boiling and the sugar was dissolved. We let it cool before pouring into our feeder. You might enjoy this on making a hummingbird feeder.

Make a Hummingbird Feeder

My girls were excited to hang it in our tree by the window. On our to-do list is to also plant a hummingbird garden.

While an older video, you will definitely enjoy this on feeding hummingbirds during migration.

And, to inspire you more, enjoy this hummingbird filling station!

Learning About Hummingbirds

We learned many facts about hummingbirds and made a paper bag hummingbird nature journal. Did you know that hummingbirds are the only bird that can fly backwards? We’re also trying to keep track of what time of day we see our hummingbird— morning, afternoon, or evening.

We enjoyed reading Little Green (geared more toward toddlers but it is a cute book suitable for pre-k/1st grade too. ) We still plan on doing the painting activity that is listed in that book! 🙂 We also played a hummingbird game. We had water bottle flowers in the backyard and my little hummingbirds had to fly to their color water bottle and get nectar.

Hummingbirds: Toddler to First Grade Unit Study

Hummingbirds - toddler to first grade unit study! I created all the printables for our hummingbird unit and thought others might enjoy this hummingbird nature study too. There are over 20 pages of printables and activities included. I did all the work so that you can just print and go!

I created all the printables for our hummingbird unit and thought others might enjoy this hummingbird nature study too. There are over 20 pages of printables and activities included. I did all the work so that you can just print and go!

Hummingbirds Outdoor Hour Challenges for All Ages

There are two Outdoor Hour Challenges included in the Handbook of Nature Study in Homeschool Nature Study membership:

  • Green Birds – Ruby Throated, Black Chinned and Anna’s Hummingbirds in the All About Birds Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum. This includes hummingbird flight plus the mama hummingbird and babies study and more!
  • Summer Hummingbirds and Nests – This is a favorite nature study topic for so many families. If you have a hummingbird feeder, you can’t help but fall in love with these sweet nectar-seeking birds. They’re so colorful and graceful and so enjoyable to watch. You can’t help but be amazed at the speed at which hummingbirds flap their wings and fly up, down, and all around.

Use the ideas in this nature study to learn more about hummingbirds from the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock and the internet links provided. Follow up with a nature journal entry.

Did you know that there are over 300 species of hummingbirds? These tiny, powerful creatures are fascinating to watch! Enjoy a hummingbird nature study and learn all about these tiny creatures!

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Bring The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

For even more homeschool nature study ideas for all seasons, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

These are just a few of the activities we did. What I love about nature studies is that it is never over. Every time we look out our window and see a little hummingbird it brings the opportunity for more observations, questions, and conversations.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

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5 Tips for Staying Consistent With Nature Study

These five tips will help you stay consistent with nature study in the new year – or any time of year!

Enjoy these five tips to stay consistent with nature study in the new year – or any time of year!

5 Tips for Staying Consistent With Nature Study

Nature study can be a wonderful part of any education, providing connection to the world around us, real world scientific discovery, and a chance to connect as a family. Here are 5 ways to make it a consistent priority in your days.

Know your Why!

Why ARE you doing nature study? Is it just to fill up a slot in the day, or do you have a specific purpose for it? We do nature study because it is a vital part of the way we study science!

Have a plan for a specific time for nature study.

This will look different for different people, and may change in different seasons. For us, it is late afternoon in the seasons of shorter days, and after dinner in the seasons of longer days. For those that have littles at home, the morning might work best.

Don’t be in a rush!

Give plenty of time for what you are doing! Whether you’re in your backyard or out on a trail, if children are being rushed, they really can’t observe.

Keep notebooking supplies, nature study books, and field guides near at hand.

This allows you to not spend too much time gathering supplies when you’re ready to write/draw your observations. You are ready when the opportunity arises!

Have fun with it!

Not only are you learning, but you’re making memories that you’ll share with your children for a lifetime!

Valuable Support For Your Homeschool Nature Study

We’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, but, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside. It also helped them be better at taking a few minutes to learn about an object they encountered, even if it wasn’t the original aim for getting outdoors.

We make it easy with resources you can use at your own pace and on your own schedule. Or, you may choose to follow our annual nature study plans closely and have everything at your fingertips.

Amy Law is wife to Jeremy, and mom to three. They homeschool using Charlotte Mason’s principles, and love to spend lots of time in nature! You can often find them hiking the beautiful trails of their beloved Tennessee hills, while Amy attempts to capture the beauty of it all with her camera lens.

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7 Fun Science Experiments for Preschoolers

Here are some really simple and cool science experiments for preschoolers. When we think of doing science experiments with kids, we might think about the experiments that we did in high school biology, chemistry, or physics classes. However, science isn’t something that is just for older kids. Nor does it have to be complex.

Here are some really fun and cool science experiments for preschoolers. Using materials you have on hand, preschoolers can learn simple concepts.

7 Fun Science Experiments for Preschoolers

Nature Rubbings

One very important part of the scientific method is the ability to observe things. The next time you go out on a nature walk, bring along some white paper and crayons. Ask your child to observe the world around them and search for things in nature that have interesting textures. They could find rocks, trees, leaves, stick, feathers, etc. Ask them to describe each one to you.

Then help your preschooler to create rubbings of the things they find by holding a piece of paper over the item while the rub the crayon over the paper. You can then label and date the papers to save for a nature collection. It might even become a fun hobby for them.

Shadow Study

This can be a fun all-day activity or you can do it on separate days. For it, you will need three large sheets of paper. They need to be big enough for you child to lay on; if you don’t have single sheets that are this big, you can try taping several sheets together. You could also use sidewalk chalk and do it on the driveway or porch if you have one. Try to do it when it is really sunny outside.

Talk to them about how the sun shines on us to create our shadows and how where the sun is in the sky will change how your shadow looks and where it will be. Then go outside to find and trace your shadows during three parts of the day: early morning, noon, and mid-afternoon. You can label the times and then compare how your child’s shadow looks different at each time. This can be a great way to help them develop their observation and predicting skills.

Making Applesauce

making applesauce

Although people may not realize it, cooking is an everyday form of science experimentation. It can be a great way to illustrate how processes like heating things can cause their physical structure to change.

Grab a few apples and place them in front of your child, along with some drawing materials or the apple journal in membership.

  • Ask them to feel, describe, and draw the apple.
  • Cut a slice of apple and give it to them to taste. Ask them to describe how it tastes.

Continue to peel, core, and slice the apples before placing them in a pan with enough water to barely cover the apples. Ask your child what he or she thinks will happen to the apples if you cook them. Boil them until they are soft, describing what you are doing at each step.

Once the apples are soft, put them in a bowl and help your child mash them with a fork (feel free to add sugar and a bit of cinnamon if you like). Ask your child to describe how the apples look and feel now.

Then let them know that with just a bit of water and heat, you have made applesauce. Enjoy!

Here are some really fun and cool science experiments for preschoolers. Using materials you have on hand, preschoolers can learn simple concepts.

Volcano in a Cup

This is one of the great science experiments for preschoolers and a great way to introduce your child to the concept of volcanoes. Tell them that some mountains are volcanoes that have molten rock (or lava) inside them. Sometimes the lava builds up so much that it erupts and flows out of the volcano.

To illustrate, grab a plastic cup, a plate, some vinegar, some baking soda, and red food coloring. Put the cup in the middle of the plate. The cup represents the volcano; the plate is the ground around it. Pour (or let your child pour) ½ an inch of baking powder into the cup. Add a few drops of food coloring and then slowly pour in a little vinegar and watch the volcano “erupt”. Have them draw a picture of what the “volcano” looks like on a sheet of paper.

Sink or Float


This experiment is really easy but can be a great way to help your child develop their reasoning skills. Fill a tub, pot, or sink halfway with water. Collect at least 10 items from around your home (e.g. bottle caps, toy boats, sponges, feathers, pebbles, paper, etc.). For each item, ask your child whether they think the item will sink or float, and why. Then have fun testing out their theories.

Here are some really fun and cool science experiments for preschoolers. Using materials you have on hand, preschoolers can learn simple concepts.

Raisin in the Sun

Hand your child a grape and ask him or her to describe it. Then let them eat it and ask them how it tastes. Do the same with a raisin. Ask them if they know what the two foods have in common. After they have made their guesses, tell them that when a grape dries up, it turns into a raisin. Then let them know that you are going to do an experiment to watch it happen.

All you need to do is place a few raisins in a bowl and set it up in a window for several weeks (warning: it could take two months!). Maybe once a week check to see how they are coming along. You could even take pictures of the process and label them. At the end of the process, you should have some dried and wrinkly raisins. I wouldn’t eat them (for edible ones, I would use a food dehydrator), but it’s pretty cool to see how it happens!

Preschool Chalk Science Evaporation

This was a favorite activity that I did when my children were younger. This was simple to do yet a great way to introduce a science concept.

My kids love to use chalk. I wanted to see if I could sneak some hidden learning in with their chalk art time– specifically science. By pairing chalk and water, I set up an easy evaporation observation experience for my toddlers and preschooler.

You can follow the experiment steps, below:

Science Supplies:

  • sidewalk chalk
  • cool duct tape
  • spray bottles

First create “art frames” with duct tape on the sidewalk or driveway. This serves two purposes. I wanted my girls to work on filling a space with a design (rather than a scribble here and then 3 ft. later another scribble.) It is also the boundary lines for where we spray the water in the next steps.

After the designs are complete, hand each child a spray bottle. Have them spray their art piece with water. Watch how some colors blend while others seem to disappear. Make sure the complete frame is sprayed with water.

My girls noticed how the water made the sidewalk darker. At this point we went in for lunch. Later we came back out to see our wet chalk art creations— but they weren’t wet anymore! Where did the water go?

This led into a nice discussion about evaporation. Evaporation is a pretty abstract idea to young children, but I believe in introducing concepts in little bits so when they are older they have background information in their minds to pull from and help them understand.

Down Comes the Rain Science Book

A nice follow-up book to science experiments for preschoolers is Down Comes the Rain. It explains the water cycle and includes a couple of easy science experiments too. I’ll be showing a several more exploring water activities soon. 🙂

This simple, chalk activity is a wonderful way to introduce the topic of evaporation and the water cycle to young children. A Teaching Mommy has a water cycle printable plus other rain-related pages that go wonderfully with this topic. You could easily turn this into a week-long (or longer) unit!

Which one of these science experiments for preschoolers activities will you try first? I would love to see what you do! For even more ideas, check out the preschool science archives.

Here are some really simple and cool science experiments for preschoolers. When we think of doing science experiments with kids, we might think about the experiments that we did in high school biology, chemistry, or physics classes. However, science isn’t something that is just for older kids. Nor does it have to be complex.

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Bring The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

For even more homeschool nature study ideas for all seasons, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

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Planning for Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Find some helpful advice and delightful resources for planning for nature study in your homeschool and making your goals into a clear plan.

Find some helpful advice and delightful resources for planning for nature study in your homeschool and making your goals into a clear plan.

photo by Amy Law

Planning for Nature Study in Your Homeschool: How to Make a Plan and Set Goals for Your Family

Hopefully by now, dear readers, you have the desire to make nature study a regular part of your family’s lifestyle. You may even have the goal to do some incredible things for nature study.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Choose a Plan that Makes Sense for Your Family

There are many ways to go about planning a more formal schedule for nature study. Typically, families plan their nature study either by the month or by the school term (usually 4 terms per year). Either way is easy to do using the nature study planning pages available in Homeschool Nature Study Membership.

Members here on Homeschool Nature Study with the Handbook of Nature Study have access to a printable set of planning pages that would be helpful to download and save for future use. I will be referencing these pages in this entry.

Monthly Topics Homeschool Nature Study Plan

Use this approach if you prefer to have monthly nature study topics. I loved the years that we stuck with a topic for a whole month, digging in deeply. Gather ideas as you contemplate your seasons and habitat.

Keeping your focus to one broad topic a month gives you plenty of time to study several specific subjects, take a few nature walks with this focus in mind, and then create nature journal entries as a way of following up.

You can glean ideas for specific topics by clicking the tabs at the top of our website and checking the Homeschool Nature Study Membership for additional ideas and printables.

Seasonal or Term Topics Nature Study Plan

Some families like to schedule their nature study focus for a complete term or season. If you follow the Ambleside Online nature study rotation, you could use our planning pages to plan your year’s topics.

After you have chosen your topics, either monthly or for a term, you can then use the challenge and activity planning page found in the packet to note specific challenges or ideas that you want to implement during your topical study. For example, gather ideas that you hope to study with your children after choosing the topic of trees.

Planning ahead of time will make it more likely that they will happen. You can use ideas from the tabs at the top of the website, suggestions in our email newsletter, or ideas found in the printables list.

Here is another sample showing how to break down a month’s nature study ideas using the Outdoor Hour challenge, printables, and newsletters from Homeschool Nature Study Membership.

Customize Your Monthly Nature Study Plans

Think of all the nature study ideas as ingredients. There are many options for your nature study recipe. Pick the ones that suit your family and your taste. Add them to the planner page and use that to remind you of your options for the month.

Don’t feel like you need to complete all the things you list on the planner page. But creating the list will make it more likely your family will accomplish something during the month. Celebrate the things you are able to share with your family and look at this as a lifelong journey, taking one month at a time.

  • Homeschool Nature Study Membership – Look in membership courses and lessons for topics that you may wish to include in your monthly studies. Read through the ideas presented and pick a few to put on your monthly planning page. Make sure to look on the planning page for nature photo ideas, nature table suggestions, and nature journal topics to jot down on your monthly planning page.
  • Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum – Once you pick a topic, use the search bar on the blog and in your membership to find all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for that particular topic listed. Next to each topic, the specific ebook curriculum will be noted. Download and save the ebook curriculum from your Homeschool Nature Study membership for your family to use for your study. In the ebooks, you will usually find a custom notebook page to use as a follow up.
  • Printables –There are many printables in Homeschool Nature Study membership for every topic you may wish to study. Download and save the printables for your future use.
  • Seasonal Ideas – Use the seasonal ideas from the website to find one or two seasonal ideas to pick from for your family.
  • Once a Month Nature Journal Idea – Use the ideas in the Nature Journaling course in membership to create a nature journal page for any of the items listed above.
Find some helpful advice and delightful resources for planning for nature study in your homeschool and making your goals into a clear plan.

Nature Study Goals and Homeschool Planning Ideas

I’ve found it hugely helpful to have yearly nature study goals. Each year I pick a few things to focus on as part of my personal nature study. There are families that like to make these goals and record them in their nature journal as a way of keeping themselves accountable.

Keeping a Calendar of Firsts – with FREE Calendar Page! – It’s a simple way to learn the cycle of life in your world, noting the nature firsts that catch your attention each year. Comparing the dates of the firsts in nature will give you a more accurate telling of the passage of time.

Planning and Dreaming for the New Year – In the nitty gritty of checking things off, I urge you not to lose sight of the long term goal.

Homeschool Planners and Planning Resources – This collection of homeschool planners and planning resources is sure to spark some ideas and help you streamline your homeschool planning process!

Have a Back to Homeschool Planning Date – There’s just something special about designating time for just the two of us to talk. I thought you might like to know more about this simple idea, too.

There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

Join us for even more homeschool nature studies for all the seasons! With a new nature study each week, you will have joyful learning leading all the way through the homeschool year for all your ages!

Written by Barb, founder of the Outdoor Hour Challenges and updated by Tricia

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3 Nature Study Myths and How to Overcome Them

Here is how to overcome 3 nature study myths. Does the thought of doing nature studies intimidate you? Let these ideas encourage you!

Does the thought of doing nature studies intimidate you? Have any of these myths stopped you from studying nature with your kids? Here is how to overcome 3 nature study myths that get in the way for many homeschoolers.

Right now it is cold outside and I’ll admit— I’m a fair-weather nature walker! 🙂 But these solutions will help you overcome nature study myths.

Here is how to overcome 3 nature study myths. Does the thought of doing nature studies intimidate you? Let these ideas encourage you!

1. You must be able to identify every leaf, animal track, songbird and seed.

I can identify the pumpkin!

Guess what? You do not need to be a nature expert in order to enjoy nature studies! Pick up a couple of nature handbooks and learn along with your children! Here is more on The Handbook of Nature Study.

2. You must go on a 5 mile hike uphill both ways to make it count as a nature walk.

If you are a mom of toddlers or preschoolers, the thought of taking them far from home (or a bathroom) can cause you to dread going on a nature hike. I’ll tell you one of my secrets— our backyard is one of our favorite nature adventurelands! We have a normal suburban backyard but if you look, there are many natural treasures out there to be discovered.

Our local museum also has several different types of gardens on its campus. I love to take my children there because it is close to home, close to a bathroom, and a do-able outing for me with several young children. Someday I would love to be able to take my kids on longer hikes, but for this season, close to home is where we will do our nature observations.

3. Your kids must love nature in order to do a nature study.

Honestly, I rarely tell my kids, “Hey, we’re going on a nature walk!” Usually we all just need to get out and burn off some energy. I just happen to take them to places where it is easy to find things to observe. While they are walking (or running) I often engage them in a game of I Spy or I’m thinking of something… red, up high etc. These simple games help teach my kids observation skills. Then when we are out and about, they are used to looking at their surroundings and often find critters, leaves, rocks, twigs and more on their own.

Here is how to overcome 3 nature study myths. Does the thought of doing nature studies intimidate you? Let these ideas encourage you!

Resources For Nature Study in Your Homeschool

If you’ve been hesitant to start nature studies with your kids, the following resources offer great tips on how to get started:

Nature Study Printables for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Included in Homeschool Nature Study membership!

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Bring The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

For even more homeschool nature study ideas for all seasons, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

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Preschool Snow Activities and Printable Nature Journal

It’s polar-vortex cold outside but it’s hard not to love all the snow! So what do you do when it’s too cold to go out? You study all about snow while staying warm inside! 🙂 Below you’ll find 10 indoor winter activity ideas to go along with a printable snowflake  journal, plus several other winter-themed resources.

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students too.

Preschool Snow Activities

I decided to make another preschool science-themed paper bag journal! This set has six pages to add to a journal. It also includes six more free snowflake-themed journal pages!

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students.

1. Print out the snowflake journal pages. Have your students fill out any information before gluing into the paper bag journal. Paper bag journal assembly instructions can be found here.

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students.

2. Print out two copies of this sheet of snowflakes on to cardstock. Cut one set and have children match snowflakes on the uncut set, or cut both sets and play snowflake memory. Another option would be to print out on regular paper and have your student cut out the snowflakes and glue into their journal. Be sure to look through this site to see several collections of snowflake photos!

3. Take a winter nature walk and bring along our printable winter I Spy cards. How many objects can you spy on your walk? Too cold to go outside? Print and glue the images in your nature journal or use  as winter word cards and tuck into the paper bag.

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students.

4. Make a snowman bird feeder.

5. Enjoy a homeschool snow study.

6. Make frost in the comfort of your own home!

7. Paint snow indoors. (We are going to do this tomorrow!)

8. Make pattern block snowflakes.

9. Make your own snow — sensory bin activity.

10. Take a winter weather walk and print out the accompanying journal page.

Snow Homeschool Nature Studies for the Whole Family

In addition to preschool snow activities, enjoy these ideas for all ages!

Homeschool Nature Study on Crystals – Winter has arrived! If you have snow and ice around then now is the perfect time to do a homeschool nature study on crystals. If you live in warmer climates then we have some ideas on growing your own crystals.

Snow Outdoor Hour Challenge – In addition to a snow Outdoor Hour Challenge, learn how to catch and study snowflakes, how snow crystals are formed, learn to make your own snowflakes with a special recipe, a frozen spider web hunt, snowflake art and more!

Take a Silent Winter Walk!

Members also enjoy many snow-related learning links on the Nature Study Calendar.

Snow-themed Books

Whenever we do a theme, I love to incorporate books! Here are a few snow-themed books to set out and read together:

And when it’s time to warm up back inside, having a book basket of winter-related books helps continue the conversation. Here are a few of our favorite winter books:

Snowflake Bentley: A Winter Snowflake Study – This winter homeschool snowflake study combines the beauty of winter with the fascinating life of Snowflake Bentley.

Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening – we love this book and these tea time homeschool ideas!

Snowflakes in Photographs

Snowflake Science Activity Book

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students.

Winter and Snow Nature Resources

More wintry ideas here:

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Bring The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

For even more homeschool nature study ideas for all seasons, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Do you have any other fun preschool snow activities?

By Maureen Spell, a long-time contributor to the Outdoor Hour Challenges. Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

 

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