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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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A Fun Insect Study From a Bug’s Eye View: Activities and Resources

Sometimes the attention of our children during our nature study time is short-lived and they get distracted from making careful observations. There is nothing wrong with letting them explore on their own. But, I also would like to encourage you to come up with a few “tricks” to keeping them interested in nature study. This fun insect study is a great way to encourage nature study in your homeschool.

This fun insect study is a great way to encourage nature study in your homeschool. Includes activities and resources.

One of the ideas I am sharing this week is to allow your child to use a digital camera or the camera on your phone to take photos of things they find of interest. In particular, try to get them to see things from a different perspective.

Activities and Resources For a Fun Insect Study

Take a photo from a bug’s perspective and then complete the notebook page for your nature journal.

Download Your FREE Bug’s Eye View Printable

Get your free bug’s eye view printable with fun prompts, below:

Get Your FREE Bug’s Eye View Notebook Page!

Subscribe to get your free bug’s eye view notebook page.

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    You can find even more solid reasons for including digital photography with nature study in Nature Study and Digital Photography: Would Anna Comstock Approve?

    This fun insect study is a great way to encourage nature study in your homeschool. Includes activities and resources.

    Enjoy an Insect Nature Study: How to Identify an Insect

    Even if you or your children are squirmy about insects, there is so much to discover and learn! In this insect nature study, learn how to identify an insect with simple steps!

    “Insects are among the most interesting and available of all living creatures for nature study. The lives of many of them afford more interesting stories than are found in fairy lore; many of them show exquisite colors; and, most important of all, they are small and are, therefore, easily confined for observation.”

    Handbook of Nature Study, page 294

    Make a Butterfly Puddle to Learn More About Butterflies

    If your child is more interested in butterflies, you can do the same Bug’s Eye View study of butterflies. Here are some great ideas for making a butterfly puddle for closer observation of these favorite insects.

    You might also like these ideas for studying bees and buzzy insects.

    More Insect Learning for Homeschool Nature Study Members

    Our members can also enjoy these great resources!

    • Insect studies for each season included in these courses: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter
    • Insect and Invertebrates Nature Study Grid (fun prompts for your insect study)
    • Butterfly Journal Page
    • Insect Photo Hunt Printable

    Suggestions Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study

    If you already own this ebook, this week’s challenge would be a great addition. You can get your FREE copy, HERE. The Getting Started ebook has a complete selection of generic nature journal pages at the back for you to print and use with any challenge.

    It would be great fun to have a picnic for your nature study! (Picnic ideas HERE!) Have your meal outdoors and then take a few minutes to take your Bug’s Eye View photos.

    This fun insect study is a great way to encourage nature study in your homeschool. Includes activities and resources.

    More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

    For even more homeschool nature study ideas, 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!

    Handbook of Nature Study for your homeschool

    by Barb McCoy, founder of the Outdoor Hour Challenges

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    An Awesome List of Bees and Bumble Bees Nature Studies

    Find nature studies on bees for all ages! Learn the different types of bees, visit a bee farm, play bee games, create a bee garden habitat or house and more!

    An Awesome List of Nature Studies on Bees and Bumblebees

    In an attempt to attract native mason bees to my garden, I purchased a mason bee house a few years ago. ( I purchased this one: Esschert Design WA02 Bee House which is my amazon.com link) It just seems to make sense to me to help support any local pollinator in my rather eclectic front yard habitat. There are plenty of bees already but lately I have been observing the insects more closely. In the past I have lumped all bees together, not really taking time to identify the various kinds of bees. Even when I took part in the Great Sunflower Project and counted bees, I really had a hard time noting the different types. If you are interested in some bee identification cards, you can find them at the Great Sunflower Project.

    I am attempting to educate myself…love learning new things about the creation around me right in my own yard.  So, after a little digging around, I stumbled upon some information that was new to me. I guess I always assumed that all bees lived in colonies. Wrong. There are many bees that are considered “solitary bees” and live as individuals, sometimes living next to each other but not in a hive.

    Learn About the Types of Bees

    Here are a few basics:

    Leafcutter Bee: This bee cuts a clean bit of leaf to use in its nest. I have noticed leaves in my garden that may have been used by leafcutters and now you can be sure I will be looking even more carefully. Also, they gather pollen on their bellies and not in the pollen baskets on their hind legs.

    mason bee house

    Mason Bee: These are bees that use mud to construct their nests. They create the nest in hollow tubes like the one in my pre-made mason bee house. These bees are excellent pollinators. My research says they are out and about from May to late June or July.

    Carpenter Bee: These bees make their nests in wood, usually rotting and old or damaged wood.

    Tricia’s family enjoyed a backyard study of bees and investigated a carpenter bee, honey bee, paper wasp, yellow jacket and more! Checkout their Bees and Buzzy Insects Nature Study.

    Learn About Bee Houses

    Mason Bee House Video – interesting to watch this video showing five minutes of activity at the house.

    You can read more about mason bees here: Gardener’s Supply.

    Information on building a bee house: National Wildlife Federation. A bee house would be a wonderful addition to your wildlife habitat!

    An Awesome List of Nature Studies on Bees and Bumblebees

    Preschool Science: Learning About Bees

    As part of our farm unit study for this semester we’ve been visiting all types of farms. We recently visited a bee farm! We learned all about bees, honey and products made with beeswax! During the week we pulled out various bee books, printables, games and activities for a mini-unit on bees.

    Bees are such wonderful and helpful creatures. From pollinating flowers to making honey, we could not live without them. Go ahead and explore the world of bees with your child, preschool class, daycare or homeschool co-op. Use these bee ideas as a science unit, a unit to go along with Letter of the Week or a spring-themed week. I’ve included free bee printable coloring sheets and games I’ve created for my children and local co-op class plus other fun ideas.

    Learning about bees came at the perfect time for my family. I have one member who is not very fond of bees, so I figured learning more about them would help her have a healthy respect for these creatures as she learned about their importance in our ecosystem.

    Find nature studies on bees for all ages! Learn the different types of bees, visit a bee farm, play bee games, create a bee garden habitat & more!

    Honey Bee Farm Field Trip

    Our Farm Field Trip group visited a large honey farm where we learned about bees from a bee keeper, tasted honey sticks, saw beeswax candles  being made and even got to fill our own honey bottles.

    This was a great field trip because we got to experience bees in a different way than we do in our back yard. The bee keeper was able to teach the students about bees, what to do when you are around them and why they are so important to have in our environment. He took a section of the hive and was able to show the students the honey comb, worker bees and the queen. He shared why he had to use the “smoker” while handling the bees (it throws off their communication.) And don’t worry— he was in a screened in tent with the bees while we watched from the outside. 🙂

    Picking up Pollen Bee Nature Study Game

    Picking Up Pollen Bee Game

    Supplies:

    • bouncy balls, ping pong balls or pom poms
    • bags
    • several small bowls

    Bee Game Directions:

    Flowers have pollen and that is just what bees love to collect. Set out several “flowers” with pollen (bowls, trays etc. filled with balls or pom poms) around the room.

    Give each child a bag. Have them step into the handle so it is on one leg and place the other handle on their arm. This represents the sacks on the back of a bee’s leg that holds the pollen . (If that’s too difficult for the child, let them put it on their arm). Have the children collect the pollen and bring back to the hive (select a place to be the hive like a big tub to place all the “pollen”).

    Female bees have a structure on their legs that no other insects, including wasps, have: a pollen basket. The basket is made of rows of stiff hairs that arch to form a hollow space on the outside of the bees’ legs, usually her back legs. When a bee visits a flower, she combs grains of pollen into her baskets. Pollen from the flower also sticks to the bee’s hair.

    ~ San Diego Zoo

    Bee Printables and Art Activities

    We have some toddler/preschool bee-themed printables by Maureen Spell in Homeschool Nature Study Membership! Members, log in and go to your Preschool Course to find a bee number count and a bee color match printable.

    Our sister site, You ARE an ARTiST, has a variety of bee art lessons to enjoy! Including a fun, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree art lesson.

    Making a Bee Habitat

    I have talked before here on the blog and in my newsletter about creating a wildlife habitat in your yard. This is something that has brought such joy to our family and I highly recommend getting started even if it is in a small way like hanging a mason bee house.

    Gardens That Help Honeybees – great tips for building a bee habitat.

    Participate in the Great Sunflower Project! Count bees and enjoy a citizen science opportunity as a family.

    Find nature studies on bees for all ages! Learn the different types of bees, visit a bee farm, play bee games, create a bee garden habitat & more!

    Homeschool Nature Study Membership

    In homeschool nature study membership, find Outdoor Hour Challenges on bees, yellow jackets and mud daubers. Join us for even more homeschool nature studies for all the seasons! With a nature study plan for each week, you will have joyful learning leading all the way through the homeschool year for all your ages!

    Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

    Written by Barb McCoy, founder of the Outdoor Hour Challenges, Maureen Spell and Tricia Hodges

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    Insect Nature Study For Kids: How to Identify an Insect

    Even if you or your children are squirmy about insects, there is so much to discover and learn! In this insect nature study, learn how to identify an insect with simple steps!

    This engaging insect nature study for kids includes step by step instructions on how to simply identify an insect.

    “Insects are among the most interesting and available of all living creatures for nature study. The lives of many of them afford more interesting stories than are found in fairy lore; many of them show exquisite colors; and, most important of all, they are small and are, therefore, easily confined for observation.”

    Handbook of Nature Study, page 294
    This engaging insect nature study for kids includes step by step instructions on how to simply identify an insect.

    I am finding this to be the case in our everyday life…there are insects everywhere. The caterpillar above we found on our hike yesterday. The more we looked, the more we found.

    This engaging insect nature study for kids includes step by step instructions on how to simply identify an insect.

    Rain beetle: Although she looks dead, she really wasn’t. She kept flipping over on her back and wiggling and stretching her legs. Today was a first. I actually looked closely at a very ugly beetle. Yes, I am becoming an insect gal. I know this for sure because my daughter and her friend Shyloh brought me home a very large, very alive beetle creature. I had asked all my family to bring home any interesting insects they find and had even given them each a ziploc sandwich bag to bring them home in. Yesterday was the first time someone brought me an insect treasure. They said they couldn’t bear to put it into a baggie so they used a small plastic container from my daughter’s lunch box. She said there were hundreds of the beetles so she felt like she could bring one to us to study

    How to Identify an Insect

    At first I was disgusted by this creature but after taking her out of the container and looking carefully, I once again found the beauty in the design of the Creator. Now all that was left to do was to discover what sort of beetle this insect was.

    This engaging insect nature study for kids includes step by step instructions on how to simply identify an insect.


    Steps To Identify An Insect


    1. I pulled out my field guide but could not see any beetles that looked like this one.

    2.So it was off to the internet and we started by looking up “beetle, california” on Google. I am finding that if I Google something and then look at the images it takes me far less time to identify a creature.

    3.Once you find an image that looks like your insect, click on the link associated with that image. The majority of the time this is enough to get you pointed in the right direction.

    Insect Nature Study For Kids

    Here’s what I learned about this little female insect: Rain beetle or P. puncticollis (more on classification at BugGuide.net)and can be found in California woodlands. The male is approximately 1″ and the female can be slightly larger at 1 3/4″. The males have wings but the females do not. They range in color from reddish-brown to black. The underside is covered in hairy bristles.

    The interesting thing about this beetle is that it makes a sudden appearance after a soaking rain….hence the name Rain beetle. We had a really good rain all the night before so I think this is probably why we were able to see this amazing creature. The life cycle of the Rain beetle is very long. The larvae, who feed on roots of live trees and bushes of oaks and conifers, take up to as much as 10-12 years to mature but once they become adults the males wait for the first rains to bring them out for their mating flight and the females dig a tunnel to the surface to wait for the males to find them. Here is the fascinating part:The conditions that trigger the males and females to emerge are so stringent that this may only happen in a population for a single day in a given year. This made the finding of this insect all the more precious since it is a rare event.

    This engaging insect nature study for kids includes step by step instructions on how to simply identify an insect.

    This is the head of the beetle and if you look closely you can see her little “horns”. The males fly slowly over the area, low to the ground, looking for the females who although rarely leave their underground burrow, wait at the burrow’s entrance for the arrival of the males. She puts off a pheromone that attracts the males. After mating the female closes off the entrance to her burrow and lays her eggs. These mature the following spring.

    rain beetle up close

    I love this photo that shows her leg parts.

    Wow, so much to learn. I have a new appreciation for the study of insects after learning that this was not just an ugly bug. It has a whole life story to learn and now I can share it with others.

    “When it is properly taught, the child is unconscious of mental effort or that he is suffering the act of teaching.”

    Handbook of Nature Study, page 6

    I did all this research and it hardly felt like any effort at all. I will be striving to make our nature study so that it is interesting and feels not like work but like refreshment.


    Get your FREE Getting Started: Nature Study Close to Home (includes three challenges!)

    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.

    Handbook of Nature Study for your homeschool

    by Barb McCoy, founder of the Outdoor Hour Challenges

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    Outdoor Hour Challenge: Cicada Homeschool Nature Study

    This cicada homeschool nature study will be a lesson in learning to listen and distinguish the sound of the cicada. In the past we’ve listened in the evenings for other insects like the cricket. Now we’re going to learn about the cicada by listening and observing like investigators during the daylight.

    Outdoor Hour Challenge Cicada Homeschool Nature Study

    Cicada Homeschool Nature Study

    Use this link to learn a little about the cicada: Very informative website with photos, sounds, and descriptions of North American cicadas. Note that some appear periodically, every 13 or 17 years: Cicada Mania.

    See the Creepy things Homeschool Nature Study curriculum for more cicada nature study ideas, videos, and printables!

    An alternative nature study would be the cricket or the grasshopper.

    You may be interested in reading this about cicadas:

    “But the most distinctive peculiarity, which has no parallel in any of the other groups, appears in the organs of sound (of the males). These consist of two large parchment sacs, ribbed and gathered into numerous plaits, furnished with powerful muscles, and situated in large cavities at the base of the abdomen. When in action, the air is driven in great force against the ribbed surfaces, and vibrations are set up which produce the sound in accordance with the number and form of the fluted spaces and ribs.”

    An Introduction to Entomology

    By John H. Comstock and Anna Botsford Comstock.

    Please note that I will not be posting the complete challenge here on the blog. You’ll find the detailed challenge in the Creepy Things Curriculum that’s available at the annual level of Homeschool Nature Study. Sign into your account and download the curriculum for the details, more links, and notebook pages.

    This cicada homeschool nature study will be a lesson in learning to listen and distinguish the sound of the cicada. In the past we’ve listened in the evenings for other insects like the cricket. Now we’re going to learn about the cicada by listening and observing like investigators during the daylight.

    If you don’t have a membership yet, join today for immediate access to the courses, matching downloadable curriculum and so much more!

    Topics in this Creepy Things Course and Homeschool Nature Study curriculum include:

    • Banana slug
    • Tarantula
    • Black widow
    • Scorpion
    • Leech
    • Muskrat
    • Sphinx moth
    • Cicada
    • Millipede
    • Poison oak

    More Cicada Resources for You!

    Our sister website, You ARE an ARTiST, has a cicada art lesson with Nana.

    Homeschool Nature Study Membership
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    Summer Butterfly Nature Study – How to Make a Butterfly Puddle

    Enjoy a summer butterfly nature study! Here is an easy step-by-step on how to make a butterfly puddle right in your own backyard.

    Over the years, I’ve observed butterflies along hiking trails in the muddy edges. There will sometimes be 10 or 12 butterflies sitting on the mud slowly opening and closing their wings. This behavior fascinated me! After a little research on the internet, I discovered that butterflies are attracted to mud puddles for not only the moisture but the minerals and salts that are present in the mud.

    **Don’t miss the nature study and art giveaway at the end!

    Enjoy a summer nature study! Here is an easy step-by-step on how to make a butterfly puddle and attract butterflies to your backyard garden.

    Summer Butterfly Nature Study – How To Make a Butterfly Puddle

    So, this summer I’ve decided I want to make my own butterfly mud puddle, but make it in a large saucer. During my research, I ran across several websites and videos that explained how to make an artificial mud puddle that butterflies could use in my garden.

    Basically, you add sand to the saucer along with some sort of mineral source. I decided to try compost, a little gravel, a few rocks, and a bit of Epsom salts with my sand. Then you add water to moisten your “puddle”.

    Here is a step-by-step how to for a butterfly puddle.

    Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with a Butterfly Puddle

    Here’s a YouTube video for you to watch for a tutorial:

    Simple and easy!

    I would love for you to give this project a try with your children and let me know if you were successful too!

    You can always leave me a comment, email me directly, or post an image on Instagram and use the hashtag outdoorhourchallenge.

    More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

    For even more homeschool nature study ideas, 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!

    Enjoy a summer nature study! Here is an easy step-by-step on how to make a butterfly puddle and attract butterflies to your backyard garden.

    By Barb, July 2021

    Nature Study and Art Giveaway!

    This time of year the butterflies are out, and there’s a cool canopy of trees teeming with all sorts of plant and animal activity. We are blessed with so many beautiful details to study with our children as we enjoy the outdoors.

    If you are looking for an engaging way to start the homeschool year, why not raise butterflies and enjoy some nature journaling? We have just the giveaway!

    You ARE An Artist, Homeschool Nature Study, and The Homeschool Scientist have teamed up for a fun Nature Study and Art Giveaway!

    Here’s what’s included in this hands-on science and art prize pack:

    • A set of 12 NuPastels
    • A magnifying glass
    • A copy of the beautifully illustrated Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story. Read more about the book here.
    • An Insect Lore Butterfly Garden with a certificate for caterpillars (This is so much fun!)
    • A 24-piece set of insect life cycle figurines from Insect Lore

    You may enter once per day. Entry closes at 11:59 p.m. on August 9, 2022. You must be over 18 years or old to enter. U.S. residents only. The email provided in the giveaway widget will be used to contact the winner.

    Click HERE to Enter to Win!

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    A Delightful Ladybug Nature Study For Your Homeschool

    It’s time for a ladybug homeschool nature study! We love ladybugs in our garden. It is as simple as that. They always make me smile when I see them crawling around in the grass or on the rose bushes. Maybe it is the nostalgia of childhood memories that flood in when I see ladybugs….you know, singing *that* song.

    It's time for a ladybug homeschool nature study! Ladybugs make me smile when I see them. Maybe it is the nostalgia of childhood memories.

    A Ladybug Nature Study For Your Homeschool

    Anyway, here are some thoughts from the Handbook of Nature Study that I enjoyed:

    “The ladybird is a beetle. Its young are very different from the adult in appearance, and feed upon plant lice.”

    From the Handbook of Nature Study, page 366

    “These little beetles are very common in autumn and may be brought to the schoolroom and passed around in vials for the children to observe. Their larvae may be found on almost any plant infested with plant lice. Plant and all may be brought into the school room and the actions of the larvae noted by the pupils during recess.”

    “From our standpoint the ladybird is of great value, for during the larval as well as adult stages, all species except one feed upon those insects which we are glad to be rid of.”

    From page 365:

    “The ladybird is a clever little creature, even if it does look like a pill, and if you disturb it, it will fold up its legs and drop as if dead, playing possum in a most deceptive manner.”

    I don’t usually have to go far during the summer to find a ladybug or some aphids. The boys will point out that I have a ladybug in my hair or there will be one hiding among the weeds on the edges of the garden box. They just seem to go hand in hand with summer gardening.

    I found a ladybug larva and a ladybug in my garden. This is an example of how taking the time to focus on something different in your own yard leads to a lot of really great information and then satisfaction.

    ladybug larva for a ladybug homeschool nature study

    I took this photo the other day in the garden and I posted it here on my blog. Someone identified it as a ladybug larva. (Thanks Margie!) I checked it out and they were right. The amazing part about it to me is that it is so big compared to the adult ladybug.

    Studying Ladybug Larva

    I looked it up in the Handbook of Nature Study and sure enough there is an illustration on page 364 that really shows the differences between the larva, the pupa, and the adult.

    “…for they do not in the least resemble her; they are neither rolypoly nor shiny, bur are long and segmented and velvety, with six queer, short legs that look and act as if they were whittled out of wood; they seem only efficient for clinging around a stem….the absorbing business of the larva is to crawl around on plants and chew up the foolish aphids or the scale insects.”

    Handbook of Nature Study page 365


    Here is another photo I took the other day and I sort of thought it was a ladybug but it wasn’t quite the same as I had seen before.

    Now, go look for some ladybugs!

    Ladybug Art for Nature Study and Exploration

    It's time for a ladybug homeschool nature study! Ladybugs make me smile when I see them. Maybe it is the nostalgia of childhood memories.

    Enjoy a Spring Homeschool Nature Study with Art!

    Free Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study Guide

    Did you enjoy this ladybug homeschool nature study? Join us for our Outdoor Hour Challenges bringing The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool! Download your copy here.

    If you enjoyed this homeschool nature study, we invite you to join Homeschool Nature Study membership for year round nature study!

    published by Barb, May 2008 and updated by Tricia April 2022

    Ladybug Homeschool Nature Study
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    5 Ways to Use Your Magnifying Lens in Homeschool Nature Study

    Looking for ways to encourage your child to explore things in nature? Using a magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is not only fun for children but it helps them see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us. Try one of the ideas below to help your child get started making careful observations of natural items.

    Looking for ways to encourage your child to explore things in nature? Using a magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is not only fun for children but it helps them see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us. Try one of the ideas below to help your child get started making careful observations of natural items.
    photo by Amy Law

    5 Ways to Use Your Magnifying Lens in Homeschool Nature Study

    “Adults should realize the 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.”

    Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 61

    #1 – Nature Station With a Magnifying Lens


    Create a magnifying glass station with natural items either indoors or outdoors. Collect a few things to have on hand to start but them encourage your child to find a few of their own while outdoors playing or during a nature walk.

    Looking for ways to encourage your child to explore things in nature? Using a magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is not only fun for children but it helps them see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us. Try one of the ideas below to help your child get started making careful observations of natural items.

    #2 – Square Foot Nature Study


    Use your magnifying lens in homeschool for a square foot study. There are plenty of ideas here on my blog to help you get started. You can follow-up with this entry: Small Square Study-Living vs. Non-Living.

    Examine Insects with a Magnifying Lens

    #3 – Examine Insects With a Magnifying Lens

    Collect a few insects to examine close up with your magnifying lens. Look for dead insects in window sills, in the garden, or in spider webs. If you can capture a live insect and put it in a clear container, use the magnifying lens to get a closer look. Have your child observe closely the wings, the legs, the antennae, or the eyes of insects using a magnifying lens. Another tip is to place the insect on a mirror and then you can see the underside easily.

    Looking for ways to encourage your child to explore things in nature? Using a magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is not only fun for children but it helps them see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us. Try one of the ideas below to help your child get started making careful observations of natural items.

    #4 – Create a New Level of Tree Homeschool Nature Study

    As part of a tree study, use your magnifying lens to examine the bark, the leaves, and the cones or acorns of a tree in your yard or neighborhood. You can also use the magnifying lens to compare two trees with careful observations.

    For more ideas to use with your magnifying lens and my recommendations for products, you can see my Squidoo Lens: Best Magnifying Lens Plans and Activities.

    Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Nature Study Lens Activity

    #5 – Use the Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Nature Study Magnifying Lens Activity

    Discover the wonder of ordinary objects using this magnifying lens in homeschool nature study activity. Use the suggestions on the page to spark some ideas for objects to collect and observe. There is a place to record a few sketches and some follow-up thoughts if your child is interested in keeping a record of their magnifying lens activity.

    Homeschool Nature Study Activities

    Find this activity in Challenge 8 Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study Guide available in membership and HERE.

    A magnifying lens in homeschool nature study is fun and helps children see more clearly the wonderful world of objects we have all around us.
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    Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge: Winter Insects

    This week we are focusing on winter insects in our homeschool nature study outdoor hour challenges. We are using the Winter Wednesday course and Handbook of Nature Study curriculum with our members. You can join our membership at any time. You will find a button at the end of this post that will take you to the signup page.

    We are delighted to have you along for our Outdoor Hour Challenges (OHC) using the Handbook of Nature Study either way so let’s hop right into this week’s challenge.

    Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Insects

    This OHC is from our Winter Wednesday course which utilizes both The Handbook of Nature Study and Discover Nature in Winter.

    This Week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge: Winter Insects

    1. Read chapter seven in Discover Nature in WinterMake note of any ideas for observing insects that would apply to your area. The purpose of this chapter is to make you aware of the various places that insects over winter: as fertilized eggs, as larvae, a few as pupae, and a few that hibernate. This chapter has lots of great illustrations showing what insects in winter may look like during the various stages. I highly recommend sharing these illustrations with your children.


    2. Our family is going to look for and record any overwintering insects we can find using the instructions on pages 140-141. We will be making a chart like the one on page 141 for our nature journal. We will also be on the lookout for galls and taking photographs for our nature journal. See pages 142-143 for more information.

    For families wanting to participate that do not have the Discover Winter in Nature book, I will list a few simple nature study ideas that you can try with your family.

    1. This might be the perfect time to learn the life cycle of a common insect such as the monarch butterfly or a dragonfly.
    2. Look for signs of insects: on bare tree branches, under rocks, on the backside of leaves, on or under a fallen log, in a woodpile, in the soil.

    Homeschool Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Insects

    Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership

    By joining the Homeschool Nature Study membership you get access to all the curriculum, the interactive calendar and a brand new Outdoor Hour Challenge each week.

    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!

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    July 2021 Nature Study Plans – Outdoor Hour Challenge

    July 2021 Nature Study Plans – Outdoor Hour Challenge

    This is the month many of my readers have been waiting for! I know that it has been a long time coming, but we are going to finally be working through the series of Outdoor Hour Challenges for herbs!

    Herb Nature Study ebook cover graphic

    We have one last wildflower study and then we are off to use our senses to learn about some more familiar herbs grown in our gardens. I think you whole family will enjoy learning about the benefits and uses of the herbs. It is not too late to pick up some of the herbs at your garden nursery and grow a few in pots. You can create your own little herb “lab” for your nature study this summer.

    7/2/2021 –Forget-Me-Nots Nature Study (last wildflower challenge)

    7/9/2021 – Cilantro Nature Study

    7/16/2021 – Basil Nature Study

    7/23/2021 – Bee Balm Nature Study

    7/30/21 – Oregano Nature Study

    My Nature Walk senses notebook page

    Butterflies of Summer Notebook Page

    New Printables in the Members Library

    Butterflies of Summer Notebook Page: What could go better with a study of garden herbs? I think making some butterfly observations would be a perfect complement to your herb study. 

    My Nature Walk Notebook Page: Use your senses to create some summertime memories this month. Take a nature walk, perhaps in the early morning or the evening. Then create a notebook page for your nature journal using the new page in the Member’s Library.

    Printables for Members Button

    Click the graphic above to view the complete list of printables available as part of an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

     

    July 2021 nature planner page

    Members also have access to the Nature Planner pages in their library. Print out this month’s page and use it to stimulate your weekly nature study time.

    Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020If you would like to have access to the member’s printables and the newsletter archive, I invite you to join with an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. Your membership will be valid for one year from the date of purchase. Click the graphic above to see the many benefits of an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

    Herb Nature Study ebook cover graphic