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Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Series #8: Reptiles-Snakes

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Spring Series #8
Reptile Study-Snakes

β€œThere are abroad in the land many erroneous beliefs concerning snakes. Most people believe that they are all venomous which is far from true. The rattlesnake still holds its own in rocky, mountainous places, and the moccasin haunts the bayous of the southern coast; however, in most localities, snakes are not only harmless but are beneficial to the farmer.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 193

Inside Preparation Time:
Snakes are a topic that most children are interested in learning more about. Read pages 193-194 in the Handbook of Nature Study. Make sure to highlight perhaps four or five points that you want to relate to your children before you observe a snake. Our local pet shop always has a few snakes available and they are eager to let us take a look and perhaps even hold one or two. Check around and see if you can find a local pet shop or a zoo that has a good reptile display as part of this Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Choose one or two snakes to learn about that you may find in your local area (Lessons 49-51)

  • Garter or Garden Snake pages 194-196 (This snake is the most widely distributed snake in North America.)
  • Milk Snake or Spotted Adder pages 197-198
  • Water Snake pages 198-199
  • Various snakes discussed with images pages 200-203

Outdoor Hour Time:
It is rare to observe snakes in the wild. This challenge is more about general knowledge and arming ourselves with some truths about a creature that perhaps we might encounter at some point in our lives.

You have two choices.
1. Take a field trip to a pet shop or zoo to observe a snake in real life. You may also know someone who has a pet snake that would be willing to let you observe their snake. Make sure to complete the inside preparation work before you go so you have some facts about snakes ready to share.
2. Talk about where a snake would live in your local area. You might need to do a little research for your particular state. Spend 15 minutes outdoors playing snake detective carefully looking for signs of snakes. You will be successful even if you just enjoy your backyard and observe anything that your child finds of interest. The most important thing is to get outdoors!

Follow-Up Activity:
Complete a notebook page for any or all of the snakes you researched during your preparation work or you observed up close. You can use the provided notebook page from the Spring Series ebook or a blank nature journal. You can look up your snake on the internet and use the image found there to draw your snake for your journal. Make sure to show the colors of your snake as best you can.

If you would like all the Spring Series Challenges in one place, I have an ebook gathered for you to purchase for your convenience. The ebook also contains art and music appreciation plans for the spring months as well as custom notebooking pages for each of the challenges. Please see this entry for more details:
Spring Series Cover
Spring Nature Study with Art and Music Appreciation

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

The Summer Nature Study ebook is included in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership!

13 thoughts on “Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Series #8: Reptiles-Snakes

  1. We did this study earlier in the week while hubby had a day off. Strange to say, but it was fun to gather as a family and look up snakes on the internet and in books and then draw them out. . . . Who Knew? Happy Snake Studying. πŸ™‚

  2. Oh, this would be the perfect challenge to get us back in the swing of things…we have two pet snakes!

    We’re officially on summer break now, but I may have to do this one anyway.

  3. Hi Barb, I am excited to see some of your summer ideas, because we just attended a wildlife conference they put on for homeschoolers last week and my kids loved it! So, I determined that this summer we would learn more about some of those specific animals in our own area. One of those is owls, and I’d like to do the owl pellet, as you mentioned previously. I also want to learn a bit more about snakes. HSS has a fabulous lapbook we might use too. πŸ™‚

    Finally, I have one question for you. I seem to remember somewhere you discussing growing a patch somewhere in your yard that you don’t touch…so you can observe more of the nature. I would like to have a spot like that, but am having trouble finding WHERE to do it. (we are in a neighborhood.) I would also like to grow some wildflowers in this same spot. Do you have a blog post on this subject? I vaguely remember reading something about this but can’t find it. Thanks for any help you can give me! πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Candace,

    Here are the blog entries:

    I just chose a sunny side of our house where it is not noticeable from the street too much. I have seen other moms do it along a back fence or they leave a strip along the back edge of their lawn. Really it could be anywhere that you feel comfortable just letting things grow without being disturbed.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Thank you, Barb! I’m having a hard time convincing my hubby, too, but am still working on him. πŸ™‚

  6. I smiled when I read your write-up about snakes where you said that it is rare to see snakes in the wild. I guess it is another of those regional things…we see snakes most weeks, sometimes every day during a week during the summer. Mostly garter snakes or black snakes, but we see a new variety every once in awhile including water snakes in our pond. I am working on a post of them. Just couldn’t wait to share my pleasure at realizing again at how different the many places in this large country of ours can be.
    Have a grand day,

  7. We’ll link up soon…still in progress. πŸ™‚

    Do you ever hint toward the subjects we’ll be studying next? I think it’d be nice to reserve books at the library ahead of time for our studies.


  8. We’re doing a constant ‘nature study’ around here. Even though I don’t have much (anything!)written on my post…I wanted to share our snake picture.

  9. Amanda,

    If you purchase the ebooks you get the whole list of challenges all at once along with a schedule of when they will be posted.


  10. How perfect that we found your Challenge after seeing our first snakes on the farm yesterday. Thanks for making the Handbook of Nature Study so accessible!

  11. We sure were inspired by Angie @TheOneThing! We learned more about the water snake we saw but still wonder if it was a moccasin. Eek! Thanks for another great study.

  12. Thanks Barb for all of your hard work, we always enjoy all the new ways to be together outdoors, this one was one of our favorites, since we have a snake!
    p.s. I accidentally signed in twice, so delete whatever one you want πŸ™‚

  13. We hadn’t planned on doing this challenge, especially since we’re trying to work on the autumn series, but we happened upon a snake during our nature walk.

    I accidentally messed up the first link — sorry!

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