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Outdoor Hour Challenge #9 One Small Square

“Children should be encouraged to quietly and patiently watch the bee, spider, ant, caterpillar or other wildlife that crosses their path. If this seems dull to them, they just need to watch more closely, because their alert eyes can catch the smallest ways of insects in ways that grown-ups can’t without magnifiers.” Charlotte Mason, volume 1, Outdoor Life, page 57

one small square
Outdoor Hour Challenge #9
One Small Square

1. Let’s give ourselves a challenge.
Gather yarn, scissors, ruler, and four rocks. (optional: small garden trowel and magnifying lens)

Measure off one square somewhere out in your yard or near-by park. (I prefer to do this somewhere I can dig up a few inches of soil and not get into trouble.) Use your ruler to place rocks in a one foot square plot. Use the yarn to mark off the edges of your square. If you are completing this challenge with younger children, you might consider making a two foot square plot to investigate to make it easier. Each child could have their own square if you wish.

Now the challenge comes in. See how many different things you can find in your square. If there are leaves, lift them up and see what is underneath. If there are rocks or gravel, scrape them aside and see what is underneath. If there is grass or weeds and you have permission, use your trowel to dig up a few inches under the grass, moving it carefully to the side to replace when you are done observing. Use your hand lens if you have one along with you on your challenge.

2. Add any new items to your focus list
that you are keeping in your nature journal. Add any items to your collection that you found during this week’s challenge time. Give an opportunity for a nature journal entry. If you used your hand lens during this week’s challenge, encourage your child to draw something they saw that you would not normally see like a small insect, worm, or seed.

Getting Started Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook

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

7 thoughts on “Outdoor Hour Challenge #9 One Small Square

  1. Do you have easy to follow instructions on how to make a garden box? Thanks

  2. I highly recommend going to your local library and checking out the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. He has everything you ever wanted to know about making a garden box. 🙂

    Give it a try!
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  3. Thank you for hosting these special “times” –

  4. We had a glorious time with a beach edition of one small square!

  5. Loved this challenge! Wonderful way to slow down and take a much closer look at two sections of the farm. The girls and I have never looked that closely at any part of the ground like we did today. Great exercise in looking closely at the world around you…and be patient to discover new things.

  6. The girls got really excited by this challenge, and it was just what I needed to help to slow them down a bit and not expect to find interesting things straight away.

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