We are a perfect time of year to start our tree focus and the Handbook of Nature Study is full of information that will apply to a majority of people who participate regularly in the challenges. Remember that a tree may be something commonplace to you but to a child a tree can inspire imagination and awe. If we are enthusiastic about trees, it is sure to rub off on our children.
“Natural is our love for trees! A tree is a living being, with a life comparable to our own. In one way it differs from us greatly; it is stationary, and it has roots and trunk instead of legs and body; it is obliged to wait to have what it needs come to it, instead of being able to search the wide world over to satisfy its wants.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 618
Outdoor Hour Challenge #31
1. This week read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 618-622. Highlight any information that you wish to share with your children during your outdoor time. Make note of the labels in the diagram on page 619 showing the names of the tree parts. Use these names during your outdoor time.
2. Spend 15 minutes outdoors this week with your children in your own yard or on your own street. Start to notice all the different types of trees you have close at hand. If you have been following along with the Outdoor Hour Challenges, you will already have picked a tree to study for a year. Do NOT complete your seasonal tree study this week because we will be working on an autumn tree study in a future challenge. Use your time this week to observe trees with all your senses. If you can remember, use the correct tree labels with your children so they will begin to learn the names of the tree parts.
3. After your outdoor time, spend a few minutes discussing any trees you saw during your outdoor time. Were there some interesting cones, leaves, needles, or other parts to any trees you observed? Take a closer look at any objects you brought home with you. Parents: Look in the table of contents of the Handbook of Nature Study for any trees you have growing in your yard or on your street. Highlight trees you think you might encounter over the next six weeks. Read the information about one tree you think you might observe later this week or even in next week’s challenge.
4. Make sure to give time and the opportunity for a nature journal entry. Let your child decide what part of the tree they would like to draw and label. If your child wants to draw the complete tree, this is a great opportunity to label each part using page 619 as a guide. If you have younger children, a leaf or needle rubbing is a great alternative and easy to complete. You could also think about keeping a collection of pressed leaves. You can use your flower press as a leaf press for this focus area. Use the free notebooking page linked below if want a quick and easy journal entry.
5. If you identified a tree this week, start a list of trees in the front or back of your nature journal. You can also use this Running List notebooking page to keep a record of your trees observed.