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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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7 Fun Winter Nature Study Activities To Help Cure Cabin Fever

When it comes to winter, many people opt to stay indoors unless venturing out is necessary. However, nature has some pretty cool things to offer in winter, so it might be worth your time to go out and explore. Here are a few winter nature study activities that you can do with your kids on those days when you just need a break from cabin fever.

These winter nature activities are perfect for those days when you just need a break from cabin fever.

photo by Amy Law

Winter Nature Study Activities

Measure the Snow

If it snows during winter where you live, you and your kids could track how much snowfall your area gets during the season. All you would need is a ruler and notebook to record the measurements. You never know, it might become an annual tradition. It also might be interesting to be able to look back over the years to see which winters were the snowiest. Enjoy our Snow Homeschool Nature Study!

Make Snow Cones

When I was young, we would wait for the very first snowfall and as soon as there was a good pile of snow on the ground, we would go outside to collect some to make authentic snow cones. We weren’t fancy, so we would just pour a little fruit juice on top of scoops of freshly fallen snow, then devour it like it was the best treat in the world. Another option would be to make snow ice cream!

Study the Stars

Do your kids love watching the night sky? Bundle them up in some warm clothes, grab coats and blankets, load up on hot chocolate, and head outside to gaze at the stars. I personally think that winter is the best time to go star-gazing with kids. Why? Because it gets dark super early, so you can go out and watch the stars, but still have the kids in bed at their regular bedtime.

Look up at the nighttime sky and try to find the winter constellations, like Gemini, Orion, Taurus, Pegasus, and Cassiopeia. You can also look for bright stars like Betelgeuse, Polaris, and Rigel. Take it a step further by telling them the stories behind these celestial bodies. Enjoy our Spectacular Night Sky Nature Studies!

Here is how to make a snowman bird feeder in your own backyard. This is a fun winter idea for your homeschool nature study and feathered friends.

Bird-Watching

Although a lot of birds fly south for the winter, not all do. Try bird-watching to see which local birds stick it out in your area. Print out this Bird of the Day printable to keep track. Or, if you live in the South, see which ones come for an annual visit. You could even make homemade bird feeders to coax them into your yard, like this Snowman Bird Feeder!

Nature Journal

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, why not help your kids start a nature journal. They could draw pictures of things they see, scrapbooks some items, take pictures, or even just talk about the things that they experience during the winter months.


For younger students, we have a printable snowflake journal coming for you in the Preschool section of Homeschool Nature Study Membership. It’s easy to assemble and just their size.

Animal Tracks

Winter can be a great time to get an idea of the types of animals that live in your area. Especially when it snows. Walk around your backyard and neighborhood to see if you notice any animal footprints. Work with your kids to try to identify which animals they belong to. You might be surprised to learn about the various creatures that are all around you. Enjoy these winter nature study activities with Animal Tracks Nature Hunt: Mammals Homeschool Study!

Winter-Themed Books

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!

And more wintry ideas here:

These winter nature activities are perfect for those days when you just need a break from cabin fever.

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!

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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7 Tips for a Successful Outdoor Hour Challenge

These 7 tips for a successful outdoor hour challenge will help you and your family establish an easy and fun nature study routine.

These 7 tips for a successful outdoor hour challenge will help you and your family establish an easy and fun nature study routine.

What Is The Outdoor Hour Challenge?

This is a great question! And there is a simple answer. Basically there are three parts:

  • Inside preparation of a nature topic
  • Outdoor time (even 10-15 minutes!) looking for and learning about one or two topics (or whatever you find!)
  • Follow up time nature journaling about your topic

Just how do you get started in homeschool nature study? How do families participate in the Outdoor Hour Challenges? It is so simple to get started and we will show you how. Grab this free Homeschool Nature Study Guide and discover the joys of nature study in your homeschool.

7 Tips For A Successful Outdoor Hour Challenge

We spent a little while observing the weather in our own backyard this week! Summer weather always has something interesting going on for sure!

  1. The night before, or the morning of, I check to see what we’ll be studying. I love that I can access everything in the member section by computer or on the go on my phone!
  1. I pre-read the suggested pages in The Handbook of Nature Study. This book was not written to be read aloud word for word; so I try to get an idea of she’s saying before I go over it with my kids. Both of these steps take maybe 5 minutes altogether.
  2. Quickly gather supplies. We try to keep our supplies together in convenient places; so we don’t have to search all over the house for them.
  3. Sit down and go through the assigned pages in The Handbook of Nature Study together. There are usually other activities, such as watching a video, to do as well.
  4. Go outside and do the Outdoor Hour Challenge! This week it was observing the weather! We had beautiful weather to observe, using our senses! This can be as simple as spending 15 minutes in your own backyard, which we did today!
  5. Then, we come back inside and do our nature journaling. . .drawing/making observations on what we saw.
  6. Time for clean up!

Yes, it’s just that simple. 😉

More Tips For Nature Study In Your Homeschool

Here are some practical tips for you to use to get started!

How to Use the Outdoor Hour Challenges for Your Homeschool Family Nature Study – Here are some things to consider for your homeschool family nature study. Every family is different so use these tips to get started with simple and joyful Outdoor Hour Challenges.

5 Getting Started Tips for Your Homeschool Nature Study – What a delight nature study learning is and what joys you will discover outside your back door. We will help you with simple encouragement along the way.

30 Backyard Family Activities You Will Love! These 30 backyard family activities help you have fun outdoors with your children in a way that is easy and fun!

These 7 tips for a successful outdoor hour challenge will help you and your family establish an easy and fun nature study routine.

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 Tips for Homeschool Nature Study at a Creek

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Seven tips for homeschool nature study at a creek

  1. If it’s well-shaded, go on a hot day. It’s amazing to see the temperature drop when you start wading. God’s air-conditioning. 😉
  2. Grab a friend or a cousin to go with you! You never know what they will find, too!
  3. Take your time. There is always so much to see in this environment, but sometimes you have to take a little more time to look closely.
  4. Bring along a net and a bucket to help you catch water creatures and observe them more closely.
  5. Don’t forget to gently release the animals where you found them! (Did you see how fast that stick bug disappeared when we let him go?!)
  6. Check the shoreline for insects and other animals that like to live near a creek.
  7. Keep going back to the same spot every once in a while! It’s so fun to see the changing seasons in one place, and learn what you’ll find there at different times of the year.

by Amy Law

A Year Long Brook Homeschool Nature Study

November (or any time of year) is a lovely time to begin a year long study of a creek or brook. We hope that you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving with your friends and family. After all that preparation and fun, a gentle walk beside your local creek or brook might be in order.

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Everything you need to guide you through starting a year long homeschool nature study on your local brook or stream can be found for our members in the November Outdoor Hour Challenges post. Let’s not waste anymore time, bundle up and let’s get outdoors!

While you are at it, Celebrate National Hiking Day in November!

Support For Your Homeschool Nature Study

We’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, stating that they thought it would restrict their freedom to focus on one topic. But, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside and it 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.

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

-by Amy Law

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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Learning About Spiders: Activities For Kids

Spiders. It is the season for spiders! These spiders activities for kids include nature study and so much more.

I’m not a huge spider fan but can tolerate them from a distance. This past week we had a couple unplanned opportunities to study spiders. I capitalized on that and we went on a little bunny er spider trail this week!

“Perhaps no structure made by a creature lower than man is so exquisitely perfect as the orb web of the spider…..There should be an orb web where the pupils can observe it, preferably with the spider in attendance.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 44

Observing Spiders

This first spider lives right above our dumpster. It’s a pretty big spider which kind of freaks me out. My son and I happened to be outside one afternoon while it was building its web. It was fascinating to see the thin silk come out of the spinneretes. We’ve gone out several days in a row and watched this spider work. We even saw it wrap up a fly!

Observing this spider over the past week allowed me to introduce spider vocabulary words and facts:

  • spinneretes
  • fangs
  • arachnid
  • cephalothorax
  • abdomen
  • pedipalps
  • exoskeleton
  • spiders have 8 legs
  • spiders are not insects
  • spiders have 2 body parts –the cephalothorax and abdomen
  • most spiders have 8 eyes

Nature Study: Spiders and Spider Webs

“The great danger that besets the teacher just beginning nature study is too much teaching, and too many subjects.  In my own work I would rather a child spent one term finding out how one spider builds its orb web than that he should study a dozen different species of spiders.”

Suggestions for Nature Study, Anna Botsford Comstock, 1904.

Homeschool Nature Study members enjoy a detailed spider web nature study!

We are going on a spider web hunt this week! Have some fun and get outside with your kids and look for a spider web or two to observe. Use the suggestions from the Handbook of Nature Study lesson activities (Lessons 110-113) to prepare some specific things to look at and then follow up with a nature journal if your children are interested.

If you have rain or dew, look for droplets of water on a spider web, noting the interesting patterns. Challenge yourself to get a photo of a web! Use all your creativity to make this an enjoyable nature study topic. I guarantee that once you get started hunting for webs, you will start to see them everywhere…including in the corners of your house (speaking from experience).

Spider Web I Spy

On our last nature walk we played Spider Web I spy. We counted how many spider webs we could find on our walk. Did you know that abandoned spider webs are called  cobwebs?

Spiders Activities For Kids

Here are a few spiders activities for kids that we we have done in the past or that I hope to add to our spider learning.

Spider Sort: Use the spider printable in the Preschool course in membership for a sorting activity. For very young children, first have them sort between objects that are easy to distinguish which are spiders and which are not: plastic dog, cow, tooth, flag, spiders etc.  With older preschoolers have them sort spiders from insects. This is harder to do! Most children need to count the legs to be sure.

Itsy Bitsy Spider Story Disks: Print the following Itsy Bitsy Spider printable out on cardstock from the Preschool course in membership. Use while telling the rhyme or for retelling. What came first? Second?

Play-Doh Spiders: Use plastic googley eyes and pipe cleaners and have kids create their own custom spiders!

The Very Busy Spider Activities: A couple years ago we did a special craft to go along with one of our favorite books, The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.

charlotte's web homeschool art activities

Other Spider and Fall Activities You Can Enjoy In Your Homeschool:

Charlotte’s Web Homeschool Art Lessons and Tea Time Activities – The Spider art lesson is suitable for all ages and looks like Charlotte. Even your littlest of learners can join in on this one. Nana also has a colorful spider web art lesson. You can enjoy this one and even ‘weave’ in ‘SOME PIG’ and more of Charlotte’s words.

How to Draw a Garden Spider with Chalk Pastels – free art lesson!

Folk Tales, Art and History – Learn about Anansi the Spider with Jim Weiss, Nana and Amy Sloan in a special event!

More Spider Web Studies – and a cute t-shirt idea to make!

Cobwebs and how to draw a web – how Tricia’s family enjoyed the spider web nature study membership and followed up with a web art lesson!

What about bats too? Learn about bats in your homeschool: a comprehensive guide.

The fall homeschool – This is always an exciting time of year, full of happy and idealistic plans.

Not So Spooky Spiders from Teach Preschool — several cute spider activities showcased in this post.

Are You A Spider?

We love the Backyard Books (afflink) series for young children! Of course we had to read this book for our impromptu spider unit!

quote about spiders

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!

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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How To Create Simple Nature Displays for Fun Homeschool Learning

It took me awhile to be ok with bringing nature inside. I mean, I was a little concerned about little critter hitch-hikers finding their way into my home. But after figuring out how to address that problem, I was all on board for creating a nature display for our nature treasures. And now we keep adding more around our home. Here’s a few things to think about when planning our nature display.

Creating simple nature displays is a wonderful way to expose your family to the beauty of the world around us. Nature study made easy!

Types of Nature Display Containers

First you need to decide what kind of nature display container you would like to use. I’ve seen:

  • baskets
  • shadow boxes
  • old printer press drawers
  • miniature display case
  • trays

Find Treasures on a Nature Hike

Next, go find some nature treasures! Go on a nature hike! Many of our nature treasures were found in our own back yard or neighborhood. Things to remember:

  • Know the rules for keeping nature objects. If you’re at a state park, national forest or nature preserve, you can only look– not take anything you find.
  • If you reside in the U.S., there are some rules regarding collecting bird feathers. Because of this, we don’t pick up bird feathers.  We did purchase some feathers at Hobby Lobby (which is where we got the peacock feathers.) See Is it Illegal to Pick up Bird Feathers
  • For objects such as pine cones, nuts and bark– you can put them on a cookie sheet and place in a 200 degree oven for about 20-30 min. Watch items carefully so they don’t burn. This will make sure you don’t have any unwanted critters.
  • For things like seashells, soak them in cold water. Change the water daily for a week. I did use a plant-base cleaner on the last day (adding a very small amount to the soaking water) but that isn’t necessary– especially if you are picking up empty shells.
Creating simple nature displays is a wonderful way to expose your family to the beauty of the world around us. Nature study made easy!

How to Create a Nature Study Wall Display

We decided to create a wall display first. I found our display box at Hobby Lobby, but when I went back to get more, I couldn’t find them there. They might have been a seasonal item.

For bigger items, we placed them directly in the space. But I found that clean, glass spice bottles are awesome for holding smaller items. We have a bottle of sand, shark teeth, tiny shells, crab pinches, and tiny rocks.

How to Create a Simple Nature Table

We quickly ran out of room in our wall display, so we added a small display on top of the bookcase. I love that my kids can pick up and observe objects and have a space to proudly place items they find. (The book on the stand is Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World (Julia Rothman) )

Do you have a nature display or nature box? What tips would you add?

More on Nature Tables and Displays for Your Homeschool

Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here is simple definition with some ideas and tips. These will help you begin the habit of gathering things for your homeschool nature table during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time.

Nature Table Pinterest Board filled with ideas!

Moss on Our Nature Table and Up Close

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!

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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October Nature Study Activities For Children Of All Ages

October can often be the most mild and inviting time to be outdoors! The mornings are cool, the sunshine abundant, and the afternoons offer the perfect invitation to take a walk crunching the leaves under the foot. I hope your month is full of sunshine and outdoor walks too with these engaging October nature studies.

October Nature Study Activities

October can often be the most mild and inviting time to be outdoors! The mornings are cool, the sunshine abundant, and the afternoons offer the perfect invitation to take a walk crunching the leaves under the foot. I hope your month is full of sunshine and nature walks too.

photo by Amy Law

Outdoor Nature Study Plans with the Outdoor Hour Challenges

  • Autumn Favorites Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum
  • Autumn Curriculum
  • Fall leaf study grid
  • Signs of autumn study
  • Under the fallen leaves autumn fun
  • Fall color walk with printable color cards
  • Swallows and swifts and learning about bird migration
  • Goose

  • Turkeys
  • Horses
  • Salmon and trout
  • Seasonal tree study
  • Apples and how they grow
  • How to start a field notebook
  • Autumn weather and changes in your own backyard

The October Outdoor Mom

Anne reveled in the world of color about her. What is this? “Oh Marilla”, she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it”?

Anne of Green Gables

Your Outdoor Hour Challenge hostess, Shirley Vels, shares lovely prompts just for mom in The Outdoor Mom course for annual members: I’m sure most of us resonate with Anne and her love for October. There is no doubt in my mind that October is my favourite time of the year!

The smell of woodsmoke in the air, the gentle mists that gather each morning as the sun pops its face over the horizon, the chill that makes soft clouds form as you speak, the splendour of the autumnal trees and the golden light that seems unique to this time of the year filtering through the golden tree tops and painting beautiful dappled shadows on the ground is all simply quite heavenly!

Autumn Fern Nature Journal Entry

Nature Journaling Video on Ferns: Nature Crafts

Your nature illustrator, Victoria Vels, shares a beautiful fern nature journal entry. Follow along as she shares her process in a step-by-step video in the Nature Crafts course for annual Homeschool Nature Study members. Autumn is here with all its vibrant colour changes, so it’s time to document the beauty with this fern themed autumn nature journal entry. Follow along with me as I create this autumnal spread, experimenting with colours and painting techniques. Gather up your specimens, literature and facts and lets get started!

Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenges for Pumpkins and Apples

All the apples and pumpkins for nature study fun! When the air turns cooler and the leaves start to change color, it is always fun to learn more about apples and pumpkins! Enjoy this ultimate guide of fun apple and pumpkin nature study ideas for your homeschool.

New for Homeschool Nature Study members: apple printables, apple observations, apple taste test plus visiting a pumpkin farm and more!

Fall Leaf Study

There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week! Go on a fall leaf tour!

Fall Color for Preschoolers

A really great thing about fall is that it is a great time to get outdoors with the kids and explore nature. With that being said, here are some great fall nature study ideas for toddlers and preschoolers that I hope you (and your little ones) will enjoy.

Autumn Outdoor Hour Curriculum

More Fall Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Homeschool Nature Study Activities for Every Month of the Year!

Check out all we have for our members for each month:

October can often be the most mild and inviting time to be outdoors! The mornings are cool, the sunshine abundant, and the afternoons offer the perfect invitation to take a walk crunching the leaves under the foot. I hope your month is full of sunshine and nature walks too.

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!

Tricia and her family fell in love with the Handbook of Nature Study and the accompanying Outdoor Hour Challenges early in their homeschooling. The simplicity and ease of the weekly outdoor hour challenges brought joy to their homeschool and opened their eyes to the world right out their own back door! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at You ARE an ARTiST and Your Best Homeschool plus her favorite curricula at The Curriculum Choice.

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Fall Nature Study Ideas for Preschoolers and Toddlers

A really great thing about fall is that it is a great time to get outdoors with the kids and explore nature. With that being said, here are some great fall nature study ideas for toddlers and preschoolers that I hope you (and your little ones) will enjoy.

A really great thing about fall is that it is a great time to get outdoors with the kids and explore nature. With that being said, here are some great fall nature study ideas for toddlers and preschoolers that I hope you (and your little ones) will enjoy.

Fall Nature Study Ideas for Preschoolers and Toddlers

I don’t know about you, but fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love the crisp, cool weather that is not too hot and not too cold. I love the radiant beauty associated with the changing of the leaves, when everything around you sports varying hues of golds, reds, yellows, and browns. I love the attire associated with the weather as well – cozy sweaters, sassy boots, and cute scarves. Everything about it is wonderful.

A really great thing about fall is that it is a great time to get outdoors with the kids and explore nature. With that being said, here are some great fall nature study ideas for toddlers and preschoolers that I hope you (and your little ones) will enjoy.

Go for Nature Walks

Fall is the perfect time to go for a walk around your community or even go for a hike in the woods. As you are walking around, teach your kids how to keep an eye (and ear) out for various aspects of nature. Tell them to listen to the birds chirping and the sound of gurgling streams. Take opportunities to point out squirrels collecting nuts and explain how they are preparing for hibernation. There is almost always something of interest going on around you – you just have to take the time to pay attention.

Check out Neighborhood Nature Walks With Young Children

Create a Nature Box or Scrapbook

If your child is the type to enjoy keeping mementos of their experiences, you could help them decorate a box or scrapbook for them to store and display the things that they find during your nature walks. Many kids love collecting things like nuts, uniquely shaped rocks, feathers, leaves, and flowers that they find. It would also be a great way for you to come home and do some research about each of the items to teach them more about their little treasures. Here’s a great video tutorial on making a paper bag nature journal for toddlers and preschoolers.

Keep an Art Journal

If your child is more in the camp of ‘observing and not disturbing’, a great alternative to a nature box or scrapbook is an art journal. You can help them to create one by drawing pictures of what they observe (or even snapping a picture) and jotting down little notes about them. This enables them to have a keepsake of their own without actually taking bits and pieces of nature home with them.

A really great thing about fall is that it is a great time to get outdoors with the kids and explore nature. With that being said, here are some great fall nature study ideas for toddlers and preschoolers that I hope you (and your little ones) will enjoy.

Identify Trees and Leaves

Grab a tree guide and help your child learn about and identify the various types of trees that grow in your area. Talk about how some trees produce flowers, nuts, or fruit. Which trees are the tallest or oldest trees in your area? Are there any trees that are indigenous to your area? Point them out and discuss why those trees might only be found in your region (a great way to talk about habitats and climate.) As Fall progresses, and more leaves fall to the ground, you could even help them identify which trees the different leaves come from.

leaf rubbing

Do Leaf Rubbings

Another fun activity to do while you are out and about is to collect different types of leaves and then bring them home to do leaf rubbings. Not sure what this is? Check out Barb’s how to post and video plus this wonderful tutorial.

Go Bird-watching

Have a lot of birds in your area? Take some time to sit out in your yard and have fun observing and identifying the different types of birds that come to visit. You could even try to entice more birds to stop by with one of these DIY bird feeders. For even more bird-themed activities, check out our Bird Study for Different Learning Styles post.

Toddler and Preschool Nature Study Printables

Do you like the idea of involving young children in nature study but not sure how to start? Do you need a little help being intentional with your nature studies? Nature Study Printables is full of printable tools for you to use to get young children observing and talking about nature!

Preschool Nature Study with Homeschool Nature Study Membership!

Enjoy ALL of our preschool nature studies plus access to the Outdoor Hour Challenges curriculum for the whole family in Homeschool Nature Study Membership. Find out more about our Delightful Preschool Nature Study Plans for Your Homeschool.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

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