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Outdoor Hour Challenge-Winter Series: Cattails in Winter

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Winter Series Ebook

Cattail Study-Winter

Inside Preparation Work:
Read the section on cattails in the Handbook of Nature Study on pages 500-503. Pay close attention to suggestion #7 on page 502. If you completed an autumn cattail study, you may wish to pull out your nature journal page and refresh your memory with how your cattail looked a few months ago.

Outdoor Hour Time:
Take your Outdoor Hour Time and visit your cattail location if possible. Many of us were surprised that we actually had cattails close to our homes and it will be fun to revisit the area now that winter is upon us. (If you do not have cattails in your neighborhood, see the alternate activity below.)

cattails in winter 12 09

You may wish to take along your nature journal or your camera to record how your cattails look during the winter. Use your best observation skills and observe as much about your cattail as possible.

You might include:

  • Is your cattail still growing in water or has it dried up?
  • What does the “cattail” parts of the plant look like now?
  • What color and shape are the leaves?
  • Do you see the cattails seeds or balloons?
  • Can you pull some of the fuzz from the cattail and observe it more closely?
  • How do you think the seeds spread, by wind or water?
  • How crowded are the cattails growing together?

Follow-Up Activity:
Follow up your outdoor time with a chance to draw the cattail in the nature journal. You can use the notebook page I created for the Winter Series (available only with the ebook or notebooking page purchase-see link below), the notebook page from Autumn, a blank page in your journal, or any other general notebook page listed on my sidebar of my blog.

Alternate Study:
If you don’t have a cattail study started or you do not have cattails in your area, you can choose another plant to observe over the course of a year if you would like. Just about any plant would make a great subject if you observe it closely. The idea is to start to see how the seasons and plants change around you.


Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

12 thoughts on “Outdoor Hour Challenge-Winter Series: Cattails in Winter

  1. Sounds great. I think I even know where some cattails are not far away.

  2. Thank you so much for these weekly challenges. I wish I completed them more regularly, but we really enjoyed taking a look at our local cattails this week despite the frigid temperatures. It was surely not an hour, and we still didn’t get as deeply into it as I would have liked, but we had some amazing samples.

    I included it in my weekly wrap up if you are interested in seeing “our” cattails. We have so long ignored them in the winter. Thank you for making us stop and wonder.


  3. I really loved this weeks challenge and happy to be participating with the Outdoor Hour! Thanks so much for hosting them! *Ü*

  4. Ours was a most spontaneous walk, popping out the front door for a hunt for cattail. We ended up focusing on the color in winter activity you mentioned in another post. Great activity – and we really needed to get outside after the recent frigid temps! Thanks for all you do.

  5. I love the cattail challenge, and appreciate your winter challenges. Sometimes it’s tough here in Minnesota to get out in the frigid temps – but an activity somehow makes it more worthwhile.

    Thank you for all you do 🙂

  6. Barb – our local Charlotte Mason group has taken up the challenge! We began last week with the winter cattails study, and what a marvelous experience for our whole group (with very young to upper elementary aged kids, and lots of eager moms). What blessing to have the structure and focus in place for us – we plan to continue on each week!

  7. We participated in our very first Challenge. I’ve been an “amateur naturalist” all my life, but have needed direction in sharing my knowledge with my dd9yo.
    Focusing on cattails in winter is something I never would have thought of. And some things you take for granted. While MY dd knew about cattails, her homeschooling friend didn’t have a clue. Maybe I’ll get THEM to join in!
    Read about our adventure at
    Mother Robin’s Notes from the Nest

  8. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog, Barb. You are my first comment EVER as I have not really gone public,not even family (except my little student)!
    Mother Robin’s Notes from the Nest

  9. Love the encouragement to do Nature Study. Will hopefully get to a color walk this week.

  10. Is there a link to read the Handbook of Nature Study on-line for free, Barb?


  11. I have the link on the sidebar of my blog right under the image of the cover:

    Be aware that the page numbers are off from the page numbers I use in the challenges because it is a different edition. You can usually use the table of contents to find the topic of study.

  12. Yay! We did a nature study! (Trying to get back in the habit!)

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