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First Day of Spring: Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

We are excited to get started on this first day of spring with simple ways to study nature and a fresh set of homeschool nature study ideas. It hardly seems possible that we are at the beginning of another spring season but here we go! We look forward to another season of encouraging nature study. Have fun and get outdoors with your children!

First Day of Spring: Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

Inside Preparation Work
1. If you have not read pages 23-24 (How to Use This Book) in the Handbook of Nature Study, please read it now. In addition, read the section on The Field Excursion on page 15. Highlight interesting sections as reminders.
2. Prepare your children for your outdoor time by explaining the purpose. For this challenge, use the ideas from Outdoor Hour Challenge #2—Using Your Words in our FREE Getting Started Homeschool Nature Study Guide which is take a short walk in your yard or neighborhood and then come back inside and record words to describe your experience.

We are excited to get started on this first day of spring with simple ways to study nature and a fresh set of homeschool nature study ideas.

Spring Splendor Nature Walk Ideas

Homeschool Nature Study Members: Before beginning this series of challenges, use the Spring Splendor Notebook Page (Challenge on page 8 of your Spring Nature Study Curriculum and notebook page linked there as well) to build enthusiasm for the spring series of nature study. Keep the page in the front of your nature journal as a reminder of the three questions you hope to answer and the three activities you hope to accomplish.

Outdoor Hour Homeschool Nature Study Time

1. Enjoy some time outdoors this week as part of this challenge, including a few minutes of quiet observation if possible. Observe what early spring looks like in your neighborhood. Use all your senses. If you have young children, taking a walk and enjoying the season is the main point. You can work on adding words as your child gains confidence in nature study.
2. Homeschool Nature Study Members: Use the Spring Nature Walk Worksheet notebook page if you want more structure to your time outdoors.
3. Collect an item to sketch into your nature journal, perhaps a leaf or a flower.
4. Advanced Study: Take photos of spring flowers, birds, trees, leaves, or other objects you see during your outdoor time. Try taking photos from different angles and up close.

Follow-Up Activity

1. Use the Spring Splendor notebook page (Homeschool Nature Study Members) or your nature journal to record your time outdoors, including the prompts for descriptive words. You can brainstorm words with your children if they have trouble. Sketch or watercolor your spring scene in your nature journal or onto your notebook page.
2. Advanced Follow-Up: Make a slideshow with the images you took of your spring splendor walk. You can also print the images and include them in your nature journal.
3. Homeschool Nature Study Members: Optional coloring pages: Spring Woods 1 and Spring Woods 2.

We are excited to get started on this first day of spring with simple ways to study nature and a fresh set of homeschool nature study ideas.

More Spring Homeschool Nature Study

You might also like these simple ways to study nature in your homeschool!

Outdoor Hour Challenges with Homeschool Nature Study

If you enjoy any of these first day of spring nature study ideas, please share with us! Take a photo, share on social media and tag @outdoorhourchallenge on Instagram and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge – we would love to see and to comment!

John Muir quote

Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these spring homeschool resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing homeschool nature study series plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. 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!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

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Your Backyard Homeschool Nature Study Laboratory

Your backyard truly is homeschool nature study laboratory! We will show you how you already have what you need for building the habit of getting outside with your children.

We are challenging you to begin homeschool nature study with the intention of creating the habit of getting outside with our children every week. There is something exciting about starting nature study with all the possibilities in front of us. Take the opportunity to join us for what could be the start of a grand adventure.

How do you create the habit of getting outside with your children?

Baby steps. We are here to help you with some methods that have been shared over the last decade, guiding hundreds of families to successfully navigate nature study close to home. When establishing a new habit, we have always found it helpful to start small and work on consistency.

Your backyard is a homeschool nature study laboratory! You already have what you need to build the habit of getting outside with your children.

Your Backyard is a Homeschool Nature Study Laboratory

A new habit can be encouraged simply by seeing the benefits of an easy change. Think of your backyard and neighborhood as a nature study laboratory. Change your view of what is right outside your own door. Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Starting with the things closest to home, you’ll soon see how the habit of getting outside each week comes more easily.

What is there to observe in our backyard Homeschool Nature Study Laboratory?

Here are just a few things you have easy access to for backyard homeschool nature study

  • Trees: leaves, bark, twigs, roots, flowers, cones, needles, seeds, pods, nests, birds
  • Patch of weeds: leaves, roots, bugs, flowers
  • Dirt: worms, gravel, stones, seeds, mud, ants, mushrooms, moss
  • Sky: clouds, sun, moon, stars, birds
  • Air: temperature, wind, smells, breath on a cold morning
  • Birds: flying, pecking, eating, chirping, hopping, shapes and colors, beaks, wings, tails, feet
  • Sounds: wind, frogs, rain, leaves, crickets, bees, fly buzzing, mosquitoes
  • Weather: rain, clouds, temperature, snow, ice, dew, wind
  • Flowers (garden or in a pot): petals, pollen, roots, leaves, stem, fragrance, shapes, colors, seeds
Your backyard is a homeschool nature study laboratory! You already have what you need to build the habit of getting outside with your children.

How long does it take? Just 15 minutes!

Consistently taking fifteen minutes during your weekly schedule to get outside will be of great benefit in providing interesting things to observe. Even better, take that time when your child is distracted or listless during the homeschool day and seize the opportunity to get outside with them for just a few minutes. Once you see the benefits of allowing this time outside to reset, you’ll begin to see nature study as a refreshing necessity rather than a task that needs to be checked off a list of things to do.

We don’t need to devote a lot of time to nature study during our weekly schedule. Keen observation is the key, not reading lessons, filling in notebooks, or keeping collections. Short walks outdoors along with our children as we encourage observation will do far greater good than any other form of lesson plan.

Favorite Handbook of Nature Study quotes

Can I just send my kids outside on their own?

Children need to grow the habit of looking at things carefully.  In nature study, we can encourage our children to look at things more closely, to really see what is there.  You need to go with your children outdoors at first, walking alongside them or being available nearby. This will alert you to subjects of their interest. Have them describe what they see and perhaps you can ask a few leading questions. Keep it friendly and light.

“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. If the teacher at the end of the year has opened the child’s mind and heart in two or three directions nature-ward, she has done enough.”

Anna Botsford Comstock

In My Experience

Your backyard homeschool nature study can hold your attention for a long time if you are diligent about looking for a variety of things to observe. Most of us have plants, birds, trees, rocks, insects, invertebrates, and mammals that will visit us at least at certain times of the year. Challenge your family to pick something each week to learn more about. Nature study is a long-term project (or even a lifestyle) that everyone can find satisfaction in doing together as a family.

Each family member can develop their special area of interest. My daughter and I love flowers and birds. My husband is a tree person. The boys enjoy insects, rocks, and mammals of all sorts. Look for your child’s interest and nurture it! I sometimes wouldn’t get involved at all when the kids were looking at something. Quietly observing their interaction with the natural world gave me insight into what we could learn about in the future.

Remember that nature study intensity can come in cycles. There are periods of time or seasons of the year when we devote much energy to getting outside and taking nature walks. The amount of time may fluctuate to fit our family’s circumstances. Although regular outdoor time reaps the most benefits, real life demands we make allowances for breaks and interruptions. But don’t let these breaks stumble you and get back into it as soon as possible, picking up where you left off.

What can homeschool parents do?

To be successful in creating a nature study habit, it’s helpful for parents to be enthusiastic and see for themselves the beauty in the natural world. Start with your passions and then build from there with what you discover about your child’s interests. For example, if your interest is in flowers, spend time in your garden together or visit a nearby garden with your family. Start off looking at flowers and see where that leads. An insect may visit your flowers, or a bird may land nearby. Try to allow for nature study to unfold before you.

They need you to regularly allow time to just be outside during all the seasons. We can all bear fifteen minutes a week of backyard homeschool nature study under even the most uncomfortable circumstances. If you keep in mind that your nature study can be just outside your back door, you’ll be more apt to go out regularly.

Homeschool Nature Study Members Have Great Resources at Your Fingertips

Consider working through the first three Outdoor Hour Challenges in the Getting Started ebook. These three challenges can help build your nature study habit. I highly recommend following the suggestions for reading in the Handbook of Nature Study that go along with those challenges. The words expressed in those readings include timeless advice to parents about the value of regular nature study close to home. Make sure to have the printable nature journal pages bookmarked in case your child is ready to create a record of their Outdoor Hour Challenge.

#1 Let’s Get Started
#2 Using Your Words
#3 Now Is The Time To Draw

Look for the Outdoor Hour Challenge Planning Pages printable in the Planning Resources course. Use these pages to make a rough plan for your nature study.

If you’re not a member here at Homeschool Nature Study yet, please consider joining to gain the benefit of having a nature study library at your fingertips. There are numerous resources available for you to help create the habit of nature study within your family.

Your backyard is a homeschool nature study laboratory! You already have what you need to build the habit of getting outside with your children.
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The Ultimate Guide To Nature Study Resources

Here you will find the best nature study resources plus year round support for your homeschool family! With this Ultimate Guide to Nature Study Resources at your fingertips, you will have all the beautiful benefits of nature study in your homeschool plus tips and ideas for getting started.

“Out-of-door life takes a child afield and keeps him in the open air, which not only helps him physically and occupies his mind with sane subjects, but keeps him out of mischief. It is not only during childhood that this is true, for love of nature counts much for sanity in later life.” -Handbook of Nature Study, page 2

The Benefits Of Nature Study In Your Homeschool

“In studying nature close to home, our children will learn to observe, to write about their experiences, to draw their treasures, to be patient, to imagine, and to explore. You don’t need a special textbook or kit to get started.

A nature walk can stimulate our child’s senses and their inborn desire to ask questions. One bird, one tree, one wildflower or garden flower at a time, our children will learn about their own world and neighborhood.

Whether your “outdoors” is a park, a few square feet of dirt, or an acre of forest, every child has the opportunity to be exposed to some kind of natural environment. If you live in a high-rise apartment or the weather is too frigid or too hot to be outside, bring nature to you in the form of a potted plant, a fish tank, or a collection of natural objects brought in from your time spent outdoors.

Pine cone homeschool nature study.
Photo by Amy Law

Anna Botsford Comstock in her book Handbook of Nature Study puts her thoughts this way, “Nature study is for the comprehension of the individual life of the bird, insect, or plant that is nearest at hand.” My eyes are wide open at all times to find ways to bring nature closer to our family.” – founder Barb McCoy

“The ability to group things together by type and find differences is one of the higher orders of intellect, and every opportunity to use it first-hand should be encouraged.” -Charlotte Mason, vol 1, page 64

Tips For Getting Started With Homeschool Nature Study

“In nature-study the work begins with any plant or creature which chances to interest the pupil.”Handbook of Nature Study

Enjoy your time outdoors together and don’t spend your time lecturing or even talking very much at all. Here are some encouraging topics to consider:

Outdoor Hour Challenge waterfalls
Photo by Amy Law

Encourage Nature Study Investigation by Using Questions:

How to Use Questions in Nature Study:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you know?
  • What do you wonder?
Outdoor Hour Challenges
Photo by Amy Law

The Best Resources For Nature Study In Your Homeschool

You truly do not need many resources to enjoy nature study in your homeschool. Here at Homeschool Nature Study we suggest:

  1. Outdoor Hour Challenges
  2. The Handbook of Nature Study book
  3. Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Outdoor Hour Challenges for Your Homeschool

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 one of our best nature study resources with our free Homeschool Nature Study Guide and discover the joys of nature study in your homeschool.

Get Your Free Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study Guide

It is simple to get started. We will show you how. Grab this free Homeschool Nature Study Guide and discover the joys of nature study in your homeschool.

Includes 10 Outdoor Hour Challenges to start with in your homeschool plus:

  • General Instructions for Getting Started
  •  A list of the very few materials and resources needed
  • Corresponding custom notebook pages to use in your nature journal for each challenge

Each Outdoor Hour Challenge Has Three Parts:

inside preparation work, outdoor time, and then a follow up activity. You can complete all or part of each challenge as you go along. Each challenge is written so you can adapt it to your own backyard or local area. Use the ideas as a way to get started with simple weekly nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study.


“…the mother must not miss the opportunity of being outdoors to train the children to have seeing eyes, hearing ears and seeds of truth deposited into their minds to grow and blossom on their own in the secret chambers of their imaginations.” Handbook of Nature Study, Page 17

“It is a mistake to think that a half day is necessary for a field lesson, since a very efficient field trip may be made during the ten or fifteen minutes at recess, if it is well planned.”

Handbook of Nature Study

Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!
Photo by Amy Law

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Only Have One Required Book

The Handbook of Nature Study By Anna Botsford Comstock ISBN 9780801493843

The Handbook of Nature Study is Not a Field Guide

This is probably the single most useful aspect of this book. In the beginning I was stumbled by the fact that this giant book didn’t have many of the creatures in it that I wanted to study. I was trying to use it as a field guide and then as an encyclopedia….it just isn’t meant to be either of those things.

The Handbook of Nature Study does have many specific creatures to study, broken down into categories. You can look them up either in the table of contents or in the index. If you find that the specific creature you are looking for is not listed, you can turn to the introductory pages for the category.

Top Tips for Using the Handbook of Nature Study as Your Guide

Helpful Tips for Incorporating the Handbook of Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Handbook of Nature Study: Friend or Foe in Your Homeschool

https://buildingahouseholdoffaith.com/

Nature Journal Supplies and How Tos

Homeschool Nature Study membership for year round support
A beautiful variety of homeschool nature study topics

Enjoy ALL of these nature study resources with Homeschool Nature Study membership!

Other Online Homeschool Nature Resources

The Best Homeschool Nature Study Resources – A great compilation over on our sister site, The Curriculum Choice.

Bird Study with Art – includes a study of artist and naturalist John James Audubon.

Chalk Pastel Nature Journaling – a fun way to capture your nature adventures.

Homeschool Study of Beatrix Potter – let’s go visit Hill Top Farm and meet all of her favorite animals!

Homeschool Nature Study Membership!

Homeschool Nature Study Year Round Support with Membership


Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! We invite you to join us in nature study with the Outdoor Hour Challenges and Homeschool Nature Study Membership.

“Adults should realize that the most valuable thing children can learn is what they discover themselves about the world they live in. Once they experience first-hand the wonder of nature, they will want to make nature observation a life-long habit. All people are supposed to be observers of nature and there’s no excuse for living in a world so full of amazing plants and animals and not be interested in them.” -Charlotte Mason, vol 1, page 61

Here you will find the best homeschool nature study resources plus year round support for your family! Includes tips for getting started.
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Homeschool Nature Study the Gentle Way

Wondering how to enjoy homeschool nature study the gentle way? Here are some simple steps to get you started. No special equipment needed!

I don’t look at outdoor time and nature study as one more homeschool subject I need to plan and be ready for, I just let it unfold. If your children want to learn more about something they find while outdoors, gradually teach them to look things up for themselves in a good field guide or on your next trip to the library.

If you observe and identify one tree per year, over the course of your child’s education, you will have learned about 12 different trees! I don’t know about you but I have a hard time just listing 12 trees by name. So if your child has become acquainted with 12 trees, they are far better off than many of us.

Homeschool Nature Study the Gentle Way

My suggestion: Study one tree, one bird, and one insect per school year.

Take it slowly.

Wondering how to enjoy homeschool nature study the gentle way? Here are some simple steps to get you started. No special equipment needed!
photo by Amy Law

How to Enjoy Homeschool Nature Study in Simple Steps

Find one tree in your yard that you can study for a whole term.

  • Find out what kind of tree it is.
  • Make rubbings of the leaves and bark.
  • Does it drop its leaves or does it stay green year round?
  • Does it have any birds in it? Any insect holes? Hollows for critters?
  • Can you climb up into it and see what the view is?
  • Can you lay under your tree and watch the branches move in the breeze?
  • Does it have blossoms, fruit, cones, seeds, or other objects to study?
  • Do you see a nest in the tree?
  • Is the trunk straight, crooked, twisted, rough, or smooth?
  • Do the leaves or needles smell good? How about the bark?
  • Watch and observe and narrate one thing at a time you will find that it is really not so hard. If you feel like recording the experience, put something on paper.

Nature study the gentle way. Slowly, gradually, gently….it works.

Nature Study in Your Own Backyard – Studying One Tree

So I decided to follow my own advice and I went out and found a tree in my yard that I was interested in learning about. Turns out that after examining the leaves and the trunk of the tree, I discovered my tree is an Interior Live Oak. I know there are several varieties of oaks in my yard but I have never taken the time to identify them as any particular oak. My oak has leaves with pointy edges and they are glossy on both sides. It also has pointy acorns.

While I was examining the trunk I discovered that one side of it has *lots* of woodpecker holes drilled into it. I have walked by this particular tree hundreds of times but have failed to notice the holes. Amazing….now I will on the watch to see if I can see the woodpecker that makes the holes.

I used a tree identification guide and my new tree field guide to help me. This whole process, including taking the photos, only took a few minutes. I plan on watching my oak to see if there are any other things that I can learn about it.

So you can enjoy nature study the gentle way, the Getting Started ebook is available in every level of membership here on Homeschool Nature Study.

Wondering how to enjoy homeschool nature study the gentle way? Here are some simple steps to get you started. No special equipment needed!

This post first published by Barb May 2008 and Photo by Erin Vincent

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Weed Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Weed Nature Study

Winter weeds are a quick and easy nature study topic that you can complete in your yard or neighborhood, or at a local park or alongside a road (be watchful of traffic). Spend a few minutes this week to take notice of any weeds you may have, searching for seeds or signs of animals feeding nearby.

Beloved by homeschool families worldwide, this study focuses on the Handbook of Nature Study and winter weeds this week.

Easy And Engaging Homeschool Nature Study

You can use these links for some specific Winter Homeschool Nature Study ideas:

Beloved by homeschool families worldwide, this study focuses on the Handbook of Nature Study and winter weeds this week.

Getting Started With The Outdoor Hour Challenge In Your Homeschool Nature Study


Download your free copy of our Getting Started ebook and complete challenge #6. You may wish to make a list of weeds you observed in winter and then check the list during the summer to see if you can add some more entries.   

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership For Support All Year Long

An image showing the full collection of Nature Study courses

Connect With Our Homeschool Community On Social Media

Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @outdoorhourchallenge and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge is from the Winter Wednesday Course and Curriculum.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Tree Silhouettes Homeschool Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Tree Silhouettes

This week we are going to be on the lookout for interesting tree silhouettes in our own yard and neighbourhood. Here is the link to the previous challenge: Winter Wednesday – Tree Silhouettes

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Tree Silhouettes

In this challenge, be sure to look for the list of four ideas to use when completing this challenge with your children. You can also work on your Winter Tree Study and your Four Seasons Tree Study.

Homeschool Nature Study: Outdoor Hour Challenge

Special Activity: My Tree is a Living World
This may be a great week to revisit this activity:
My Tree is a Living World

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Tree Silhouettes

You might also like to see how Tricia’s family enjoyed this winter tree silhouettes challenge. They did a blind contour drawing. They also noticed how paying attention to winter tree silhouettes made them notice the backyard birds!

Getting Started With The Outdoor Hour Challenge In Your Homeschool

Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #4. Use the ideas in the challenge to start a focused study of trees with your children. Use the accompanying notebook page to record your outdoor time and your focus area.   

It is simple to get started. We will show you how. Grab this free Homeschool Nature Study Guide and discover the joys of nature study in your homeschool.

If you do not own the Getting Started in the Outdoor Hour Challenges guide then hop on over to our shop and grab your free copy! We would love to have you join our membership for full access to the new year’s nature study plans as well as access to the curriculum with detailed lesson plans for each weekly challenge.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership - Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool

Join Our Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Helpful Tips Year Round

An image showing the full collection of Nature Study courses

Connect With Our Homeschool Community On Social Media

Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @outdoorhourchallenge and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

In addition to this winter tree silhouette challenge, our nature study homeschool members enjoy so much more! Membership includes three sets of Winter Handbook of Nature Study curriculum, additional nature study resources and ideas plus a calendar FULL of easy, daily nature study prompts. This Week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge comes from:

Handbook of Nature Study - An Outdoor Hour Homeschool Curriculum - Winter Wednesdays
Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Tree Silhouettes

Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Tree Silhouettes? Be sure to tag @outdoorhourchallenge on Instagram and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

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Using Sample Lessons to Learn More About the Outdoor Hour Challenge

Have you downloaded any of the sample Outdoor Hour Challenges yet?

There are many nature study lessons you can try before purchasing any of the memberships here on the Handbook of Nature Study.  On the website, click the “Join Us” button. Once there, you should be able to scroll down and see all the samples for the various ebooks. (For the older ebooks you’ll need to click the ebook cover graphic and then scroll down on the ebook’s page to find the sample download link.)

Here’s one to get you started!

Salvia Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Download the Salvia Nature Study Challenge using the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Here’s a link to the original challenge: Salvia Nature Study

The sample linked above will give you the lesson, a choice of notebook pages, images, and a coloring page to use for your family’s study.

OHC Autumn Nature Study Continues Cover ButtonThis challenge is from the Autumn Nature Study Continues ebook.

I developed the Outdoor Hour Challenges to use with my sons many years ago and then started sharing our results here on the blog to inspire families who read my blog. Now that the boys are all grown up, they still remember the times we spent outdoors together looking for adventure and learning about the natural world using the Handbook of Nature Study. I know their love of nature was enhanced by learning to take time to slow down and look at things as they are out on the trail, in the garden, or traveling to new places.

Your family can experience those same benefits by getting started with the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Getting Started Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook

Sample from the Getting Started ebook

If you’re interested in starting with a more basic nature study idea, click the link above to download the very first Outdoor Hour Challenge. This is where it all started with our family and you may wish to work your way through the Getting Started ebook with your family. The challenges found in the Getting Started ebook are more general in nature and you can adapt them to fit your family’s habitat and interests.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020If you’re ready to purchase your own family membership, please use the discount code SAMPLE for $10 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. Code will expire on 7/31/2020.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #10 Summer Picnic

And here we are at the very last Outdoor Hour Challenge in the summer version of the Getting Started series! These challenges were designed for you to use as you begin your nature study adventure. But, you can use them over and over again if you want to keep your nature study plan simple. There’s a variety of notebooking pages in the Getting Started with the Outdoor Hour Challenges ebook so you could actually use a different one each time you complete a particular challenge.

Want an even simpler nature study plan?

I’ve suggested in the past using the first three challenges multiple times as the basis of a super simple nature study plan. You can read my thoughts on that idea here: Consistency and Focus.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Picnic @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge #10 – Summer Picnic

From the Archives and from the Getting Started Ebook

I love eating outside with my family, especially in the summertime. This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge encourages you to share a meal outside with your children. Keep it simple as far as food selections and location. Even if all you do is put a few things in a bag, grab a blanket, and then spread it all out on your own backyard lawn, I’m sure you and your children will enjoy the fresh air and the time spent outdoors sharing a meal.

Our family looks back fondly on the meals we shared outside in the summertime on our back deck. It made us slow down a bit and take notice of the things that happen outside like clouds floating by, birds chirping, and trees swaying in the breeze. We watched loads of sunsets and I remember a few times being sprinkled on by a passing late afternoon thunderstorm.

With just a little effort, the meals eaten outdoors can create a family tradition.

Summer Nature Study Tip

Purchase some inexpensive, unbreakable dinnerware and reusable utensils. Make sure you have a small ice chest and some cooler packs to pop into your freezer. Gather a blanket or camping chairs to leave in your garage for those last minute excursions to the park for a picnic. Make sure to bring your nature journal and some pencils so you can create a nature journal page if the opportunity arises during or after your picnic.

What to do After You Complete the First Ten Challenges?

Handbook of Nature Study Subscribe Now 2

Keep your nature studies rolling after the first ten challenges by joining us in our weekly nature study activities using the Handbook of Nature Study. Each week there will be a suggested Outdoor Hour Challenge for your family.

OHC Plan 18 to 19 Join Us

It’s so easy to get started by clicking the graphic above and reading a detailed description of how to participate this coming year!

 

Getting Started Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook

The Getting Started ebook is included in all levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study, including the Discover Level. View a sample of the ebook here: Getting Started ebook sample.

 

Benefits by Level Updated size 500

See this page for all of the benefits of membership

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #9-Summer Small Square

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #9 – Summer Small Square

From the Archives and from the Getting Started Ebook

This simple Outdoor Hour Challenge has always been a favorite in our family. We had a small square study in our own yard and another one going on over in my dad’s yard. My science loving boys looked forward to visiting their squares and most of the time they were eager to record their observations.

Give the option for a nature journal page or just take some photos!

Small Square in the Oaks

Here are two entries from our past square studies:

Our Square in the Woods – Autumn

Year-Long Oak Tree Study

 small square activity summer

Summer Nature Study Tip

Start a small square study in your yard. After you finish, leave the markers up and revisit the square in a few months during the autumn season. Look for new items or any changes that might have occurred in your small square. You could even keep this going into the winter and then on to spring for a full year’s cycle. Mark your calendar as a reminder to look at your square each season.

Additional Ideas

Small+Square+Study+Living+and+Non-Living+NB+Page.jpg

Small Square Study – Living vs. Non-Living: Here’s a printable notebook page for you to use with your small square study.

 

Getting Started Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook

If you have access to the Getting Started ebook, there’s a custom notebook page that you can use alongside Outdoor Hour Challenge #9 if you wish, or a number of blank pages you can print and use instead.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

The Getting Started ebook is included in all levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study, including the Discover Level.

 

 

Have you ever seen the One Small Square books from Donald Silver? I own the whole series and we have used them numerous times in our nature study. My boys loved the illustrations and I appreciated the simple activities suggested in each book. Check them out at your local public library or online at Amazon. Click the link above to go to Amazon….please note that I am an affiliate for Amazon.com and will receive a small commission if you make a purchase. I own and highly recommend this series of books.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #8 – Up Close and Personal in Summer

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #8 – Up Close and Personal in Summer

From the Archives and from the Getting Started Ebook

One of the most important aims in offering nature study to our children is to increase their curiosity in the world around them. In our family, every time we got out the magnifying lenses, the kids would immediately be looking for things outside to see up close. The magnifying lens brings your children in close contact with things they might not otherwise notice! Suddenly, they can see tiny insects in detail, pollen on a flower petal, or the texture of bark on a tree.

 

Summer Nature Study Tip

This Outdoor Hour Challenge is a favorite “go to” activity whether you take the magnifying lens outside or add it to your nature table. Give your children unlimited access to this simple tool and see where their interests take them.

Additional Ideas for Using a Magnifying Lens during Nature Study

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5 Ways to Use Your Magnifying Lens in Nature Study: Use the ideas in this entry alongside Outdoor Hour Challenge #8. There’s also a free printable in this entry to use with your magnifying lens!

Rock Study With Magnifying Lens: I love a good rock study and using the magnifying lens will take your investigation a step further! There’s a free printable activity in this entry too!

 

Getting Started Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook

If you have access to the Getting Started ebook, there’s a custom notebook page that you can use alongside Outdoor Hour Challenge #8 if you wish, or a number of blank pages you can print and use instead.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

The Getting Started ebook is included in all levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study, including the Discover Level.

 

Benefits by Level Updated size 500

See this page for all of the benefits of membership.