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How To Plan a Picnic for Your Homeschool Nature Study

You can plan a simple outdoor picnic with the benefit of homeschool nature study! Even a snack in your backyard will make for a fun time together outdoors. You will be surprised at all you notice while you are outside.

“..by beginning with the child in nature-study we take him to the laboratory of the wood or garden, the roadside or the field, and his materials are the wild flowers or the weeds, or the insects that visit the goldenrod or the bird that sings in the maple tree, or the woodchuck whistling in the pasture.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 21
You can plan a simple outdoor picnic for your homeschool nature study! Even a snack in your backyard will make for a fun time together.
Image by Amy Law

Ideas for How to Plan an Outdoor Picnic

Picnics don’t need to be fancy. Wrap up a sandwich in a cloth napkin, grab a piece of fruit, and some water and you are set. Venture outside even if it is only to your own yard to sit on a blanket and enjoy your lunch. Afterwards you can make time for a short period of nature study.

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.

Our family eats dinner outside every night from June to September….longer if the weather allows. We have arranged our patio table under a canopy and the citronella candles are always kept nearby. We have a tree that the hummingbirds sip nectar from in the dusk hours and after our meal we sit and observe their dinnertime.

“…When the weather is warm, why not eat breakfast and lunch outside?…Besides the benefit of an added hour or two of fresh air, meals eaten outside are often delightful, and there’s nothing like happiness to convert food and drink into healthy blood and bodies.“

Charlotte Mason, Outdoor Life pg 43

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.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Picnic

1. The challenge is to have a picnic. No need to go far or to even have a picnic table. Food always tastes better outside and if you don’t want to commit to a whole lunch, why not just a snack?

After you eat, sit and listen to the sounds of the spring.

“Given the power of nature to calm and soothe us in our hurried lives, it also would be interesting to study how a family’s connection to nature influences the general quality of family relationships. Speaking from personal experience, my own family’s relationships have been nourished over the years through shared experiences in nature-from sharing our toddler’s wonder upon turning over a rock and discovering a magnificent bug the size of a mouse, to paddling our old canoe down a nearby creek during the children’s school years, to hiking the mountains.”

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

2. After your picnic, spend 10-15 minutes observing your surroundings. Add anything new to your list of items observed in your focus area that you are keeping in your nature journal. Make note of any additional research that needs to be done for things your child is interested in. Make a journal entry if you wish.

This challenge is found in the Getting Started ebook which is included in Homeschool Nature Study membership. The ebook provides the challenge as shown above as well as custom notebook pages for your follow up nature journal if desired.

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

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

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.

by Barbara McCoy, Outdoor Hour Challenges founder

You can plan a simple outdoor picnic for your homeschool nature study! Even a snack in your backyard will make for a fun time together.
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Homeschool Garden Activities for May Nature Studies

These homeschool garden activities are perfect for your May nature studies. Includes outdoor activities and gardening tips for kids.

These homeschool garden activities are perfect for your May nature studies. Includes outdoor activities and gardening tips for kids.
Image by Amy Law

Nature Study Encouragement for Your Outdoor Hour Family Time

Before you begin homeschool garden activities, enjoy these ideas for getting outdoors with your family.

Nature Study in Ripples: Simple Ways to Study Nature

Simple Ways to Study Nature – Here are some simple ways to study nature in your homeschool. Start in your own yard then let your discoveries grow out like ripples in a pond.

“Nature study is, despite all discussions and perversions, a study of nature; it consists of simple, truthful observations that may, like beads on a string, finally be threaded upon the understanding and thus held together as a logical and harmonious whole.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 1

99 Homeschool Nature Study Ideas to Get Your Family Outside

Be inspired with 99 homeschool nature study ideas and outdoors sorts of things! Make a list of your own and get outdoors!

Homeschool Garden Activities Perfect for May Nature Studies

“A child who makes a garden, and then becomes intimate with the plants he cultivates, and comes to understand the interrelation of the various forms of life which he finds in his garden, has progressed far in the fundamental knowledge of nature’s ways as well as in a practical knowledge of agriculture.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 20 in the section “Gardening and nature Study”

Here are some great nature study ideas for your May homeschool!

Garden and Wildflower Nature Studies with the Outdoor Hour Challenges

You can enjoy a simple garden and wildflowers homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard. It is such a delight to study and learn about a garden and the beauty of wildflowers!

Make a Wagon Garden

For this particular garden, I have a rusty old Red Flyer wagon that has wheels that no longer turn…How to Make a Wagon Garden.

These homeschool garden activities are perfect for your May nature studies. Includes outdoor activities and gardening tips for kids.

World Turtle Day Nature Activities

Turtle Nature Study for Your Homeschool – Learn about pond life, pondweed and a pond habitat with this fun turtle nature study for your homeschool. Includes activities for learning about tortoises and microscopic pond life too.

Mammals: Goat Nature Study

This goat homeschool nature study is packed with fun from fainting goats to advanced mammal studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

earthworm nature study

Earthworms Invertebrates Nature Study

This earthworm homeschool nature study is packed with great learning for all ages and even includes advanced invertebrate studies!

Butterfly Nature Study: How to Make a Butterfly Puddle

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. Learn How to Make a Butterfly Puddle!

great sunflower project

Homeschool Garden Activities: The Great Sunflower Project

What is the Great Sunflower Project? This is a citizen science activity that you can participate in with your children. If you can grow a sunflower (or selected other flowers), you can join the project with just a few minutes invested later this summer.

Beautiful Queen Anne’s Lace Wildflower Nature Study

Our family made great memories together one year while noticing and studying Queen Anne’s lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne’s lace nature study for your homeschool and see what you notice in each season too!

These homeschool garden activities are perfect for your May nature studies. Includes outdoor activities and gardening tips for kids.

Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers

These timeless Charlotte Mason nature study ideas are as relevant today as when they were written and I’m forever grateful for the encouragement these gave me when I was a new homeschooler.

Gathering Things for Your Nature Table

Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here is a 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.

plan an outdoor picnic for your homeschool

Plan a Picnic

You can plan a simple outdoor picnic with the benefit of homeschool nature study! Even a snack in your backyard will make for a fun time together outdoors. You will be surprised at all you notice while you are outside.

These homeschool garden activities are perfect for your May nature studies. Includes outdoor activities and gardening tips for kids.

The Ultimate Guide to National Parks Nature Study

Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!

More Homeschool Garden Learning

Gardening in Your Homeschool – As the plant world comes alive again in springtime, what better way to teach our children about nature, food, hands-on history, and practical skills than by gardening? Whether we do a formal study or make gardening a purely hands-on project, our children will learn with a homeschool garden. 

Get Them Gardening! Fun Garden Books for Kids – As spring starts to roll in, we turn our thoughts to finally getting outside and enjoying the nice weather. Along with this comes budding trees and growing plants, and gardening both for food and flowers. This collection of garden books for kids will help you include gardening in your homeschool.

Mother’s Day Garden activities – Paint some garden flowers for a lovely Mother’s Day gift!

12 Delightful Farm Activities for Kids – These 12 delightful farm art activities for kids include fluffy baby chicks, a tractor, a barn, ducklings, a lamb, a cow, a piglet and even the chicken life cycle. Such fun learning for your homeschool!

Out of School and Into Nature

More Nature Study Ideas for Your May Homeschool

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock StoryOut of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story is a beautiful picture book biography about the author of The Handbook of Nature Study. Anna Botsford Comstock was passionate about children getting out of the classroom and into nature to learn first hand about our beautiful world.

3 Tips for Nature Journaling When You Think You Can’t Sketch – Here is some encouragement for you with 3 tips for nature journaling when you think you can’t sketch. My personal nature journal is a source of great joy and it gives me such pleasure to create pages that record my observations and memories of a particular day, excursion, or season.

How Nature Study Enriches Your High School Biology in Your Homeschool – Just how to include homeschool nature study as part of high school biology? Here you will find a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module of your homeschool biology lessons. I really think it depends on the family and how much nature study you have time to fit in with your high school age children.

You might also like to explore some May Homeschool Celebrations.

Homeschool Nature Study membership calendar activities
Our May Homeschool Nature Study membership calendar is FILLED with fun garden activities and MORE!

Garden Activities in Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Enjoy all of these and more in homeschool nature study membership:

  • Garden Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum
  • Herbs Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum (annual members)
  • Flower and Gardening Activities and Notebook Pages
  • Learning leaf parts
  • Poppies and buttercups
  • Ferns
  • Looking for pollen
  • Pressing flowers
  • How to draw flowers
  • Learning flower parts and dissection of flowers
  • The garden snail
  • Garden Seed Ideas
Homeschool Nature Study May Nature Craft - Nature Coronation Crown. Victoria Vels shares, "May's nature craft has landed for our lovely members and we're feeling rather patriotic with these stunning Nature Coronation Crowns, just in time for the crowning of King Charles II."

Coronation Crown Nature Craft for Annual Homeschool Nature Study Members

Victoria Vels shares, “May’s nature craft has landed for our lovely members and we’re feeling rather patriotic with these stunning Nature Coronation Crowns, just in time for the crowning of King Charles II.”

You will find hundreds of homeschool nature studies plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges 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!

The Outdoor Mom in May

Outdoor Mom Encouragement for Annual Homeschool Nature Study Members

The Outdoor Mom in May Helps Us Refocus

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to attend your own business and work with your hands

1 Thessalonians 4:11

It reminds me to re-focus my goals and ambitions so that they align with God’s will rather than my own, often more worldly, ambitions.

This verse grounds me. When I put this verse into action in practical ways in my everyday life I find that life slows down and I have enough head space to allow my thoughts to centre on what is important.

The May Outdoor Mom includes:

  • Choosing a journaling spot
  • 10 (!) May nature prompts for outdoors, for journaling and for either the seashore or mountains
  • Ideas for working with your hands
  • Six ideas for making the ordinary extraordinary – including planting a kitchen garden!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

These homeschool garden activities are perfect for your May nature studies. Includes outdoor activities and gardening tips for kids.

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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Discover a Dandelion Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Though you may consider the dandelion a weed, there is so much to discover in this dandelion wildflower nature study for your homeschool. This is simple and delightful learning in your own backyard!

Though you may consider the dandelion a weed, there is so much to discover in this dandelion wildflower nature study for your homeschool. This is simple and delightful learning in your own backyard!

Dandelion Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Start with a little bit of inside preparation before you head outdoors.

Dandelion Nature Study in the Handbook of Nature Study


Read in the Handbook of Nature Study about dandelions on pages 531-535. After reading the suggestions on pages 543 and 535, choose several ideas from the lesson to complete during your Outdoor Hour Time.

Finding Dandelions in your Outdoor Hour Time


Spend 15 minutes outdoors this week in your own backyard or a near-by park. As you walk along, keep your eyes out for dandelions.

Suggestions for Dandelion Wildflower Observations

  • See if you can find several dandelions in various stages of growth.
  • Look at the leaves and collect a few for sketching later in your nature journal.
  • If it is growing in your own yard, you might like to dig up the complete dandelion plant and observe the roots.
  • Measure the height of several different dandelion plants and compare them.
  • Examine an unopened dandelion flower.
  • Watch a bee working in a dandelion.
  • Observe the seeds and how they are dispersed.
  • Observe your dandelions on a sunny day and then on a cloudy day. Note any differences.

Follow-Up Dandelion Nature Study Activities


Take some time to draw the dandelion in your nature journal or complete the notebook page from the Spring Series ebook. Make sure to record your observations of the dandelion and make a sketch of the leaf and flower. If you would like to see our sample study of a dandelion in our backyard, here is the LINK.

Studying the dandelion as a composite flower

Composite Flowers: Supplement to the Study of a Dandelion


The dandelion is a composite flower and the Handbook of Nature Study has a section to explain just what that means.

“Many plants have their flowers set close together and thus make a mass of color, like the geraniums or the clovers. But there are other plants where there are different kinds of flowers in one head, those at the center doing a certain kind of work for the production of seed, and those around the edges, doing another kind of work. The sunflower, goldenrod, asters, daisies, coneflower, thistle, dandelion, burdock, everlasting, and many other common flowers have their blossoms arranged in this way.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 503

Observe your dandelion, perhaps with a magnifying lens, to see if you can observe the parts of a composite flower:

  • Look at the center of the flower for the disc flowers and around the edges for ray flowers. (illustrated in the diagram on page 575)
  • Examine the disc flowers in the center and see if they are open or unfolded. How many ray flowers are there?
  • Locate the bracts (green cover of the flower before it opens). Can you see the bracts on the back of the flower?
  • More ideas for studying a composite flower are found on page 503 in Lesson 131. Note: This lesson will be Lesson 135 in the older edition and in the Plants and Trees pdf it is on page 68.
art and nature for your homeschool

More Spring Nature Study Activities

Here are some more dandelion resources to enjoy!

  • Dandelions Outdoor Hour – I’ve always viewed dandelions as either a childhood delight or a nuisance. They tend to spread so quickly in a yard you are trying to keep free of weeds. But their seeds are also so much fun to blow and spread. A joy to watch catch the wind!
  • How to Draw a Dandelion Art Lesson – One of the icons of warm weather is the dandelion. Have you ever studied the detail of this beautiful creation? Oh there are so many ways you could paint it! This dandelion chalk pastel art tutorial is inspired by a photo I took last spring.
  • Take Along Nature Guides for Homeschool – I’m always looking for appealing books to help us out in our nature study to help spark my kids’ interest in all things outdoors.  When I found my first “Take-Along Guide” at a used book store, I was interested so I purchased it.  But it was later when I began really reading it that I became really interested.
Getting Started nature study close to home

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

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!

Though you may consider the dandelion a weed, there is so much to discover in this dandelion wildflower nature study for your homeschool.

Outdoor Hour Challenge by founder, Barbara McCoy. Additional resources by Tricia. 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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Delightful Dogwood Tree Nature Study for Your Homeschool

This dogwood tree nature study is a wonderful addition to your spring homeschool. Enjoy time outdoors as a family and learn together.

“But when spring comes, these bud scales change their duties, and by rapid growth become four beautiful white or pinkish bracts which we call the dogwood flower.”

Handbook of Nature Study
This dogwood tree nature study is a wonderful addition to your spring homeschool. Enjoy time outdoors as a family and learn together.

Dogwood Nature Study to Enjoy Indoors

This dogwood tree nature study is a wonderful addition to your spring homeschool. Enjoy time outdoors as a family and learn together.

Your Dogwood Nature Study Outdoor Hour

  • Enjoy your outdoor time for this challenge looking for blooming trees. Spend a few minutes observing the colors of the blooms and look for any insect visitors. If appropriate, gather a leaf and a blossom to sketch in your nature journal.
  •  This is the perfect time to begin a year-long tree study. For ideas on how to get started, see this entry: Year-Long Tree Study.
  • If you have a dogwood to view up close, use a few of the lesson ideas to make careful observations. Look at the bark, the flowers, and the arrangement of the flowers on the branches.
  • Advanced study: Bring along your sketching supplies and sketch or watercolor the bracts and flowers.

Follow Up Dogwood Nature Study Journaling Activities

  • Take a few minutes to sketch your tree, the flower, the leaf, the bark, or fruit of your tree. You can use this website’s images as a reference for your drawing: Identifying Dogwood Trees (They call the bracts “petals” but otherwise this is a very good page.) Homeschool Nature Study Members: There is a notebook page and two coloring pages included in the ebook curriculum for your dogwood study. There is also a notebook page for any flowering tree.
  • Advanced study: Complete a nature journal entry for your dogwood or other blooming tree. Homeschool Nature Study members: There is a notebook page to complete using a field guide or the internet.
  • Advanced study: Pick a tree from your local area and do additional research. Record your findings in your nature journal.
dogwood art lesson

Dogwood Sketching with Chalk Pastels

We had been noticing the dogwood blossoms for a full week as we went back and forth, in and out of the neighborhood and thought it was time to take an up close look. It was time for a dogwood nature study and chalk pastel sketches.

This dogwood tree nature study is a wonderful addition to your spring homeschool. Enjoy time outdoors as a family and learn together.

Additional Dogwood Nature Study For Your Homeschool:

Handbook of Nature Study for your homeschool

Outdoor Hour Challenge by founder, Barbara McCoy. Additional resources by Tricia. 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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Azalea Nature Study for Your Spring Homeschool

Use this azalea homeschool nature study for your spring homeschool to learn more about these beautiful shrubs and then create a page for your nature journal.

Use this azalea nature study for your spring homeschool to learn more about these beautiful shrubs. Then create a page for your nature journal.

Azaleas come in many colors and are often a staple at garden nurseries around this time of year. This is wonderful news for families that may not have a wild azalea to observe!

Azalea Nature Study for Your Spring Homeschool

Azaleas are part of the Heath family of plants. If you would like to find an alternative flower to study in this family, you can look on this website for ideas: Heath Family.

Forest Fun Outdoor Hour Homeschool Curriculum

Learn More with These Azalea Resources

Our full azalea nature study is included in our Forest Fun curriculum. You can enjoy the Forest Fun Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum which is a brand new series of nature studies featuring things you might find in the forest. It is not too late to join us by purchasing a Homeschool Nature Study annual membership.

Native azaleas come in all sorts of varieties. Learn more about how Native Azaleas Deserve a Spot in Your Garden.

Read Barb’s Azaleas and Good Qualities Grown in the Garden.

More on drawing azaleas at Your Best Homeschool

Join Nana of You ARE an ARTiST (our sister site) and paint some beautiful azaleas in honor of those blooming at The Masters golf tournament each year.

What’s Included in the Forest Fun Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Curriculum?

Topics in this curriculum include:

  • Rabbitbrush
  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Azalea
  • Common Raven
  • California Quail
  • Western Tanager
  • Black Bear
  • Moose
  • Porcupine
The Outdoor Hour Challenges with The Handbook of Nature Study

For More Spring Homeschool Nature Study

You might also like:

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

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find hundreds of homeschool nature studies plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges 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!

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.

Use this azalea nature study for your spring homeschool to learn more about these beautiful shrubs. Then create a page for your nature journal.
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7 April Nature Activities Great for Enjoying the Outdoors

With the weather warming up, these April nature activities for enjoying the outdoors have you covered. Simple and beautiful ideas for enjoying nature!

With the weather warming up, these April nature activities for enjoying the outdoors have you covered. Simple and beautiful ideas for enjoying nature!
Photo by Amy Law

Get Outdoors with April Nature Activities

Taking a nature walk can bring refreshment to your whole family. Maybe you are having a tough day and the children are a little restless or perhaps the weather is just too nice to stay inside all day…these are perfect opportunities to drop everything else and take a walk in your own neighborhood or a park close by.

I’ve observed that families that take nature walks on a consistent basis, as part of their weekly routine, benefit greatly from the efforts they spend in making them happen. They feel more relaxed in nature, they see their children get excited about things they discover, and they feel a closer bond as a family because of shared nature experiences.

Whether you use the Outdoor Hour Challenges as part of your nature studies or not, the fundamental idea of taking a short walk outside with your child is the basis of building a happier childhood. The Benefits of Nature Study with Ideas for Creative Nature Walks

With the weather warming up, these April nature activities for enjoying the outdoors have you covered. Beautiful ideas for enjoying nature!

Insect Nature Study for Kids: How to 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

Find the Insect Nature Study here!

Take a Field Trip or Day Hike Near Home

Our family has always enjoyed being outside together, hitting the hiking trail and doing a little exploring. But often the biggest obstacle to taking that hike was figuring out where to go. We may have had the desire and the time to get outside but wrestled with the question of where to go. Often we thought too big.

I realized over time that we didn’t need to travel far to find places to go on short notice or even for a half day’s hike. I loved being able to roll out of bed, decide to go on a hike, and be out the door in a short period of time. So, how did I overcome the dilemma of finding places to hike near our home? Ideas for Field Trips and Day Hikes Near Home

Plan to Make Your Backyard a Natural Wildlife Habitat

Here are some simple ways you can make your backyard a natural habitat for wildlife. You will love having the opportunity to have nature come to you in your very own backyard. Involve your whole family in the project and spend some time outdoors! Here are the simple how tos: How to Make Your Backyard a Natural Wildlife Habitat

Learn the Parts of a Flower

This plant life nature study is going to be helpful to all families as they strive to learn the technical names for flower parts. Make sure to read the pages in the Handbook of Nature Study and look up the link in the challenge with a printable with the flower parts labeled. Don’t make this too much of a drill or memorization assignment. As the need arises, use the proper names for the flower parts as you go through your outdoor time and find garden flowers or wildflowers to observe. Plant Life Nature Study

Simple April Nature Activities: Keep Weather Records!

Keeping weather records has not only been a pastime for thousands of years, but it has also been essential to predicting the weather and its effects on everyday life. What should we wear? When should we travel? Is it time to plant our garden? We make many of our decisions based on the weather and its patterns and cycles. Keeping Weather Records as Homeschool Science

With the weather warming up, these April nature activities for enjoying the outdoors have you covered. Beautiful ideas for enjoying nature!

Enjoy a Ladybug Nature Study

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. A Delightful Ladybug Nature Study

With the weather warming up, these April nature activities for enjoying the outdoors have you covered. Beautiful ideas for enjoying nature!

Use Your Magnifying Lens in Your April 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. Here are 5 Ways to Use Your Magnifying Lens in Homeschool Nature Study

With the weather warming up, these April nature activities for enjoying the outdoors have you covered. Beautiful ideas for enjoying nature!

Easter Nature Studies

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story. Be inspired here!

You might also like: Good Friday Garden and Picking a Year Long Tree StudyBoth my grandfathers planted their gardens on Good Friday. We’ve adopted this tradition as well. The Good Friday garden.

Earth Day Homeschool Nature Study

Any day you get outdoors and enjoy nature is Earth Day. Start with the simple ideas in How to Use the Outdoor Hour Challenges for Your Homeschool Family Nature Study.

More Homeschool Nature Study Inspiration

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

New for members this month!

Preschool Nature Study Plans

Enjoy relaxed preschool nature study plans for your homeschool with nature table suggestions, simple nature study activities, field trip ideas, images to print, coloring pages, and so much more. What a privilege to introduce children to the glorious world God created! Get your FREE SAMPLE of Preschool Nature Study Plans HERE!

delightful preschool nature study plans for your homeschool

Spring Flower Lantern Nature Craft

It’s officially Spring! The first flowers of the season are beginning to bloom so let’s celebrate new life with these Spring flower lanterns! With pressed flowers we can create something beautiful to illuminate our gardens and enjoy the spring blooms even after dark. Here is a preview in the video, below:

The Outdoor Mom Celebrates April

April is the month when spring begins to make its presence felt. Deciduous trees produce new leaves and blossom; wild flowers such as daisies, cowslips and bluebells begin to appear in fields and woodlands; and birds build their nests and fill the air with their sweet, sweet song.

In this lesson, you can enjoy prompts for your April garden, encouragement for slow living, the April home and Holy Week preparation, nature journaling for mom, ideas for being creative, nature journal prompts and more!

You will find hundreds of homeschool nature studies plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges 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!

With the weather warming up, these April nature activities for enjoying the outdoors have you covered. Beautiful ideas for enjoying nature!

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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10 March Nature Activities Perfect for Spring Celebrations

March brings beautiful spring opportunities to homeschool families. Enjoy these March nature activities perfect for spring celebrations!

March brings beautiful spring opportunities to homeschool families. Enjoy these March nature activities perfect for spring celebrations!

10 March Nature Activities Perfect for Spring Celebrations

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!

Clover or Shamrock Nature Study – (includes an art lesson too!) Enjoy a clover or shamrock homeschool nature study this spring and learn about this abundant ground cover you likely have in your own backyard.

Guide to Spring Nature Study – Getting outside with our children can be the sanity saving activity we all need. As spring approaches, have you considered adding a little nature study into your weekly routine? I’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.

March nature activities for homeschool

Spring Nature Study with Art and Music Appreciation – This spring homeschool nature study curriculum contains all the nature study Outdoor Hour Challenges, custom notebook pages for nature study as well as three months’ worth of art and music appreciation.

Beautiful Easter Nature Studies for Kids – With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.

99 homeschool nature study ideas to get your family outdoors

99 Homeschool Nature Study Ideas to Get Your Family Outdoors – Be inspired with 99 homeschool nature study ideas and outdoors sorts of things! Make a list of your own and get outdoors!

How to Use the Outdoor Hour Challenges for Your Homeschool Nature Study – Every family is different so use these tips to get started with simple and joyful Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Your Spring Homeschool Nature Study: Beautiful Birds Nests – There are so many wonderful homeschool resources for birds nests in your spring nature study! These are some of our favorites. Nests are each unique and colorful!

Spring Weather Homeschool Nature Study – Here are some easy ideas for a spring weather homeschool nature study from rain and mud puddles to noticing tree buds. Includes ideas for nature journaling!

Your Backyard Homeschool Nature Study Laboratory – 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.

More Activities for Your Spring Homeschool

5 Easter Activities Perfect for Tweens and Teens – What if I told you You ARE an ARTiST offers Easter activities perfect for tweens and teens and suitable for all ages? Nana also has a brand new art lesson appropriate just for your tween or teen!

Christian Liberty Nature Readers – These books are great for not only reading practice and comprehension, but they paint a beautiful picture of God’s awesome creation. There are numerous subjects covered and each book is a little different. The book we’re reading right now for instance talks about all kinds of things in nature from the honeybee to quails to bison.

Make a Resurrection Terrarium with Nature Crafts for Annual Members

Spring Homeschool Nature Study with Art – Perfect for commemorating spring, Nana’s spring homeschool nature study with art explores all creatures great and small and all things bright and beautiful! These nature-inspired art lessons are easy and fun for the whole family!

March Homeschool Art Activities – Add a beautiful layer of education with art! With these March homeschool art activities and spring homeschool ideas, you can celebrate Lent, St. Patrick’s Day, Dr. Seuss and Van Gogh’s birthday and more!

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.

March brings beautiful spring opportunities to homeschool families. Enjoy these March nature activities perfect for spring celebrations!

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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Beautiful Easter Nature Studies For Kids

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.
Photo by Amy Law

Beautiful Easter Nature Studies For Kids

Why not spend these weeks leading up to Easter with some joyful activities which point to The Savior?

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.
Lenten Countdown Calendar by Nature Illustrator, Victoria Vels

Lovely Lent Countdown Printable

Begin with a lovely reminder of the Lenten season. Countdown to Resurrection morning with this member printable calendar complete with nature prompts by our Nature Illustrator and Crafts Editor, Victoria Vels.

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.
Photo by Amy Law

Easter Lily Nature Study for Your Outdoor Hour Challenge

Outdoor Hour hostess, Shirley Vels, shares, “during the Easter season, churches and homes are adorned with gorgeous, fragrant Easter lilies. But why? Why have these flowers become synonymous with Easter?”

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Luke 12: 27

Also grow a mini egg shell garden and learn about seed germination! Make an edible Easter lily dessert and make paper lilies too. All available now in your Spring Course in Homeschool Nature Study membership.

Make a Resurrection Terrarium - Homeschool Nature Study Nature Crafts

Easter Craft – Make a Resurrection Garden

Just some simple supplies but plenty of discussion can happen while making it. Victoria is leading our members in creating your very own Resurrection Garden for her continuing Nature Crafts series.

Easter Lily Art Lesson

What a beautiful symbol of the Easter season – the lily! Enjoy this art lesson from our sister site, You ARE an ARTiST, included in the Easter Lily Nature Study in membership.

Julie shares, “Easter seems to come up suddenly. Maybe it’s because Easter weekend moves around the calendar, or maybe because it is preceded by Lent which is more solemn.

I decided I wanted to spend as much time anticipating the Resurrection with my children as we did the Incarnation. Both are beautiful events in our faith. Both bring a sense of wonder and awe. The Resurrection is special because it shows “God with us,” and God victorious for us!” Draw Your Way Through the Resurrection Story

Begin with a lovely reminder of the Lenten season. Countdown to Resurrection morning with this member printable calendar complete with nature prompts by our Nature Illustrator and Crafts Editor, Victoria Vels.

More Spring and Easter Activities for Your Homeschool

Here are even more spring and Easter activities for your homeschool:

Easter and Spring Nature Studies in Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Join us for even more homeschool nature studies this spring! With a new nature study each week plus a nature study calendar with daily prompts, you will have joyful learning leading all the way to summer!

With signs of spring upon us, enjoy these beautiful Easter nature studies for kids. A fun and hands-on way to celebrate the resurrection story.

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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Earthworms Homeschool Nature Study: Invertebrates

This earthworm homeschool nature study is packed with great learning for all ages and even includes advanced invertebrate studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

This earthworm homeschool nature study is packed with great learning for all ages and even includes advanced invertebrate studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

Earthworms Homeschool Nature Study: Invertebrates

“Any garden furnishes abundant material for the study of earthworms. They are nocturnal workers and may be observed by lantern or flashlight….For the study of the individual worm and its movements, each pupil should have a worm with some earth upon his desk.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 424

Take 15 minutes of your outdoor hour time to find a place in your yard to dig for worms. If you have a garden or flower bed, you may be successful in finding earthworms just a few inches down in the soil. Use some of the suggested activities from the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study to carefully observe your earthworms.

This earthworms homeschool nature study for our members includes:

  • Handbook of Nature Study references and indoor preparation time
  • Suggestions and questions for your Outdoor Hour Time
  • A list of questions to ask during your earthworm nature study time
  • Follow up activity for your nature journal

Members will find the full homeschool nature study in the Spring with Art and Music Appreciation Outdoor Hour course and curriculum.

You can use the notebook page provided with Spring with Art and Music Appreciation course or your own blank nature journal to record you observations and sketches. Don’t forget to sketch and label your earthworm.

Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

More Resources For Learning About Earthworms

Join Homeschool Nature Study membership today!

Visit our website to find an affordable membership option that suits you. Why not give membership a try for a month and go from there. We would love to have you along for the adventure!

first published May 2010 and updated May 2022

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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!