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Hummingbird Nature Study Activities For Kids

Did you know that there are over 300 species of hummingbirds? These tiny, powerful creatures are fascinating to watch! Enjoy a hummingbird nature study and learn all about these tiny creatures!

Did you know that there are over 300 species of hummingbirds? These tiny, powerful creatures are fascinating to watch! Enjoy a hummingbird nature study and learn all about these tiny creatures!

Hummingbird Nature Study Activities For Kids

One of the first activities we did was to make “nectar” for our hummingbird feeder. We added 4 parts water to 1 part sugar in a pan and heated it until it was boiling and the sugar was dissolved. We let it cool before pouring into our feeder. You might enjoy this on making a hummingbird feeder.

Make a Hummingbird Feeder

My girls were excited to hang it in our tree by the window. On our to-do list is to also plant a hummingbird garden.

While an older video, you will definitely enjoy this on feeding hummingbirds during migration.

And, to inspire you more, enjoy this hummingbird filling station!

Learning About Hummingbirds

We learned many facts about hummingbirds and made a paper bag hummingbird nature journal. Did you know that hummingbirds are the only bird that can fly backwards? We’re also trying to keep track of what time of day we see our hummingbird— morning, afternoon, or evening.

We enjoyed reading Little Green (geared more toward toddlers but it is a cute book suitable for pre-k/1st grade too. ) We still plan on doing the painting activity that is listed in that book! 🙂 We also played a hummingbird game. We had water bottle flowers in the backyard and my little hummingbirds had to fly to their color water bottle and get nectar.

Hummingbirds: Toddler to First Grade Unit Study

Hummingbirds - toddler to first grade unit study! I created all the printables for our hummingbird unit and thought others might enjoy this hummingbird nature study too. There are over 20 pages of printables and activities included. I did all the work so that you can just print and go!

I created all the printables for our hummingbird unit and thought others might enjoy this hummingbird nature study too. There are over 20 pages of printables and activities included. I did all the work so that you can just print and go!

Hummingbirds Outdoor Hour Challenges for All Ages

There are two Outdoor Hour Challenges included in the Handbook of Nature Study in Homeschool Nature Study membership:

  • Green Birds – Ruby Throated, Black Chinned and Anna’s Hummingbirds in the All About Birds Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum. This includes hummingbird flight plus the mama hummingbird and babies study and more!
  • Summer Hummingbirds and Nests – This is a favorite nature study topic for so many families. If you have a hummingbird feeder, you can’t help but fall in love with these sweet nectar-seeking birds. They’re so colorful and graceful and so enjoyable to watch. You can’t help but be amazed at the speed at which hummingbirds flap their wings and fly up, down, and all around.

Use the ideas in this nature study to learn more about hummingbirds from the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock and the internet links provided. Follow up with a nature journal entry.

Did you know that there are over 300 species of hummingbirds? These tiny, powerful creatures are fascinating to watch! Enjoy a hummingbird nature study and learn all about these tiny creatures!

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Bring The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

For even more homeschool nature study ideas for all seasons, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

These are just a few of the activities we did. What I love about nature studies is that it is never over. Every time we look out our window and see a little hummingbird it brings the opportunity for more observations, questions, and conversations.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

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5 Tips for Staying Consistent With Nature Study

These five tips will help you stay consistent with nature study in the new year – or any time of year!

Enjoy these five tips to stay consistent with nature study in the new year – or any time of year!

5 Tips for Staying Consistent With Nature Study

Nature study can be a wonderful part of any education, providing connection to the world around us, real world scientific discovery, and a chance to connect as a family. Here are 5 ways to make it a consistent priority in your days.

Know your Why!

Why ARE you doing nature study? Is it just to fill up a slot in the day, or do you have a specific purpose for it? We do nature study because it is a vital part of the way we study science!

Have a plan for a specific time for nature study.

This will look different for different people, and may change in different seasons. For us, it is late afternoon in the seasons of shorter days, and after dinner in the seasons of longer days. For those that have littles at home, the morning might work best.

Don’t be in a rush!

Give plenty of time for what you are doing! Whether you’re in your backyard or out on a trail, if children are being rushed, they really can’t observe.

Keep notebooking supplies, nature study books, and field guides near at hand.

This allows you to not spend too much time gathering supplies when you’re ready to write/draw your observations. You are ready when the opportunity arises!

Have fun with it!

Not only are you learning, but you’re making memories that you’ll share with your children for a lifetime!

Valuable Support For Your Homeschool Nature Study

We’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, but, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside. It also 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.

We make it easy with resources you can use at your own pace and on your own schedule. Or, you may choose to follow our annual nature study plans closely and have everything at your fingertips.

Amy Law is wife to Jeremy, and mom to three. They homeschool using Charlotte Mason’s principles, and love to spend lots of time in nature! You can often find them hiking the beautiful trails of their beloved Tennessee hills, while Amy attempts to capture the beauty of it all with her camera lens.

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7 Fun Science Experiments for Preschoolers

Here are some really simple and cool science experiments for preschoolers. When we think of doing science experiments with kids, we might think about the experiments that we did in high school biology, chemistry, or physics classes. However, science isn’t something that is just for older kids. Nor does it have to be complex.

Here are some really fun and cool science experiments for preschoolers. Using materials you have on hand, preschoolers can learn simple concepts.

7 Fun Science Experiments for Preschoolers

Nature Rubbings

One very important part of the scientific method is the ability to observe things. The next time you go out on a nature walk, bring along some white paper and crayons. Ask your child to observe the world around them and search for things in nature that have interesting textures. They could find rocks, trees, leaves, stick, feathers, etc. Ask them to describe each one to you.

Then help your preschooler to create rubbings of the things they find by holding a piece of paper over the item while the rub the crayon over the paper. You can then label and date the papers to save for a nature collection. It might even become a fun hobby for them.

Shadow Study

This can be a fun all-day activity or you can do it on separate days. For it, you will need three large sheets of paper. They need to be big enough for you child to lay on; if you don’t have single sheets that are this big, you can try taping several sheets together. You could also use sidewalk chalk and do it on the driveway or porch if you have one. Try to do it when it is really sunny outside.

Talk to them about how the sun shines on us to create our shadows and how where the sun is in the sky will change how your shadow looks and where it will be. Then go outside to find and trace your shadows during three parts of the day: early morning, noon, and mid-afternoon. You can label the times and then compare how your child’s shadow looks different at each time. This can be a great way to help them develop their observation and predicting skills.

Making Applesauce

making applesauce

Although people may not realize it, cooking is an everyday form of science experimentation. It can be a great way to illustrate how processes like heating things can cause their physical structure to change.

Grab a few apples and place them in front of your child, along with some drawing materials or the apple journal in membership.

  • Ask them to feel, describe, and draw the apple.
  • Cut a slice of apple and give it to them to taste. Ask them to describe how it tastes.

Continue to peel, core, and slice the apples before placing them in a pan with enough water to barely cover the apples. Ask your child what he or she thinks will happen to the apples if you cook them. Boil them until they are soft, describing what you are doing at each step.

Once the apples are soft, put them in a bowl and help your child mash them with a fork (feel free to add sugar and a bit of cinnamon if you like). Ask your child to describe how the apples look and feel now.

Then let them know that with just a bit of water and heat, you have made applesauce. Enjoy!

Here are some really fun and cool science experiments for preschoolers. Using materials you have on hand, preschoolers can learn simple concepts.

Volcano in a Cup

This is one of the great science experiments for preschoolers and a great way to introduce your child to the concept of volcanoes. Tell them that some mountains are volcanoes that have molten rock (or lava) inside them. Sometimes the lava builds up so much that it erupts and flows out of the volcano.

To illustrate, grab a plastic cup, a plate, some vinegar, some baking soda, and red food coloring. Put the cup in the middle of the plate. The cup represents the volcano; the plate is the ground around it. Pour (or let your child pour) ½ an inch of baking powder into the cup. Add a few drops of food coloring and then slowly pour in a little vinegar and watch the volcano “erupt”. Have them draw a picture of what the “volcano” looks like on a sheet of paper.

Sink or Float


This experiment is really easy but can be a great way to help your child develop their reasoning skills. Fill a tub, pot, or sink halfway with water. Collect at least 10 items from around your home (e.g. bottle caps, toy boats, sponges, feathers, pebbles, paper, etc.). For each item, ask your child whether they think the item will sink or float, and why. Then have fun testing out their theories.

Here are some really fun and cool science experiments for preschoolers. Using materials you have on hand, preschoolers can learn simple concepts.

Raisin in the Sun

Hand your child a grape and ask him or her to describe it. Then let them eat it and ask them how it tastes. Do the same with a raisin. Ask them if they know what the two foods have in common. After they have made their guesses, tell them that when a grape dries up, it turns into a raisin. Then let them know that you are going to do an experiment to watch it happen.

All you need to do is place a few raisins in a bowl and set it up in a window for several weeks (warning: it could take two months!). Maybe once a week check to see how they are coming along. You could even take pictures of the process and label them. At the end of the process, you should have some dried and wrinkly raisins. I wouldn’t eat them (for edible ones, I would use a food dehydrator), but it’s pretty cool to see how it happens!

Preschool Chalk Science Evaporation

This was a favorite activity that I did when my children were younger. This was simple to do yet a great way to introduce a science concept.

My kids love to use chalk. I wanted to see if I could sneak some hidden learning in with their chalk art time– specifically science. By pairing chalk and water, I set up an easy evaporation observation experience for my toddlers and preschooler.

You can follow the experiment steps, below:

Science Supplies:

  • sidewalk chalk
  • cool duct tape
  • spray bottles

First create “art frames” with duct tape on the sidewalk or driveway. This serves two purposes. I wanted my girls to work on filling a space with a design (rather than a scribble here and then 3 ft. later another scribble.) It is also the boundary lines for where we spray the water in the next steps.

After the designs are complete, hand each child a spray bottle. Have them spray their art piece with water. Watch how some colors blend while others seem to disappear. Make sure the complete frame is sprayed with water.

My girls noticed how the water made the sidewalk darker. At this point we went in for lunch. Later we came back out to see our wet chalk art creations— but they weren’t wet anymore! Where did the water go?

This led into a nice discussion about evaporation. Evaporation is a pretty abstract idea to young children, but I believe in introducing concepts in little bits so when they are older they have background information in their minds to pull from and help them understand.

Down Comes the Rain Science Book

A nice follow-up book to science experiments for preschoolers is Down Comes the Rain. It explains the water cycle and includes a couple of easy science experiments too. I’ll be showing a several more exploring water activities soon. 🙂

This simple, chalk activity is a wonderful way to introduce the topic of evaporation and the water cycle to young children. A Teaching Mommy has a water cycle printable plus other rain-related pages that go wonderfully with this topic. You could easily turn this into a week-long (or longer) unit!

Which one of these science experiments for preschoolers activities will you try first? I would love to see what you do! For even more ideas, check out the preschool science archives.

Here are some really simple and cool science experiments for preschoolers. When we think of doing science experiments with kids, we might think about the experiments that we did in high school biology, chemistry, or physics classes. However, science isn’t something that is just for older kids. Nor does it have to be complex.

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Bring The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

For even more homeschool nature study ideas for all seasons, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

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Planning for Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Find some helpful advice and delightful resources for planning for nature study in your homeschool and making your goals into a clear plan.

Find some helpful advice and delightful resources for planning for nature study in your homeschool and making your goals into a clear plan.

photo by Amy Law

Planning for Nature Study in Your Homeschool: How to Make a Plan and Set Goals for Your Family

Hopefully by now, dear readers, you have the desire to make nature study a regular part of your family’s lifestyle. You may even have the goal to do some incredible things for nature study.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Choose a Plan that Makes Sense for Your Family

There are many ways to go about planning a more formal schedule for nature study. Typically, families plan their nature study either by the month or by the school term (usually 4 terms per year). Either way is easy to do using the nature study planning pages available in Homeschool Nature Study Membership.

Members here on Homeschool Nature Study with the Handbook of Nature Study have access to a printable set of planning pages that would be helpful to download and save for future use. I will be referencing these pages in this entry.

Monthly Topics Homeschool Nature Study Plan

Use this approach if you prefer to have monthly nature study topics. I loved the years that we stuck with a topic for a whole month, digging in deeply. Gather ideas as you contemplate your seasons and habitat.

Keeping your focus to one broad topic a month gives you plenty of time to study several specific subjects, take a few nature walks with this focus in mind, and then create nature journal entries as a way of following up.

You can glean ideas for specific topics by clicking the tabs at the top of our website and checking the Homeschool Nature Study Membership for additional ideas and printables.

Seasonal or Term Topics Nature Study Plan

Some families like to schedule their nature study focus for a complete term or season. If you follow the Ambleside Online nature study rotation, you could use our planning pages to plan your year’s topics.

After you have chosen your topics, either monthly or for a term, you can then use the challenge and activity planning page found in the packet to note specific challenges or ideas that you want to implement during your topical study. For example, gather ideas that you hope to study with your children after choosing the topic of trees.

Planning ahead of time will make it more likely that they will happen. You can use ideas from the tabs at the top of the website, suggestions in our email newsletter, or ideas found in the printables list.

Here is another sample showing how to break down a month’s nature study ideas using the Outdoor Hour challenge, printables, and newsletters from Homeschool Nature Study Membership.

Customize Your Monthly Nature Study Plans

Think of all the nature study ideas as ingredients. There are many options for your nature study recipe. Pick the ones that suit your family and your taste. Add them to the planner page and use that to remind you of your options for the month.

Don’t feel like you need to complete all the things you list on the planner page. But creating the list will make it more likely your family will accomplish something during the month. Celebrate the things you are able to share with your family and look at this as a lifelong journey, taking one month at a time.

  • Homeschool Nature Study Membership – Look in membership courses and lessons for topics that you may wish to include in your monthly studies. Read through the ideas presented and pick a few to put on your monthly planning page. Make sure to look on the planning page for nature photo ideas, nature table suggestions, and nature journal topics to jot down on your monthly planning page.
  • Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum – Once you pick a topic, use the search bar on the blog and in your membership to find all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for that particular topic listed. Next to each topic, the specific ebook curriculum will be noted. Download and save the ebook curriculum from your Homeschool Nature Study membership for your family to use for your study. In the ebooks, you will usually find a custom notebook page to use as a follow up.
  • Printables –There are many printables in Homeschool Nature Study membership for every topic you may wish to study. Download and save the printables for your future use.
  • Seasonal Ideas – Use the seasonal ideas from the website to find one or two seasonal ideas to pick from for your family.
  • Once a Month Nature Journal Idea – Use the ideas in the Nature Journaling course in membership to create a nature journal page for any of the items listed above.
Find some helpful advice and delightful resources for planning for nature study in your homeschool and making your goals into a clear plan.

Nature Study Goals and Homeschool Planning Ideas

I’ve found it hugely helpful to have yearly nature study goals. Each year I pick a few things to focus on as part of my personal nature study. There are families that like to make these goals and record them in their nature journal as a way of keeping themselves accountable.

Keeping a Calendar of Firsts – with FREE Calendar Page! – It’s a simple way to learn the cycle of life in your world, noting the nature firsts that catch your attention each year. Comparing the dates of the firsts in nature will give you a more accurate telling of the passage of time.

Planning and Dreaming for the New Year – In the nitty gritty of checking things off, I urge you not to lose sight of the long term goal.

Homeschool Planners and Planning Resources – This collection of homeschool planners and planning resources is sure to spark some ideas and help you streamline your homeschool planning process!

Have a Back to Homeschool Planning Date – There’s just something special about designating time for just the two of us to talk. I thought you might like to know more about this simple idea, too.

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!

Join us for even more homeschool nature studies for all the seasons! With a new nature study each week, you will have joyful learning leading all the way through the homeschool year for all your ages!

Written by Barb, founder of the Outdoor Hour Challenges and updated by Tricia

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3 Nature Study Myths and How to Overcome Them

Here is how to overcome 3 nature study myths. Does the thought of doing nature studies intimidate you? Let these ideas encourage you!

Does the thought of doing nature studies intimidate you? Have any of these myths stopped you from studying nature with your kids? Here is how to overcome 3 nature study myths that get in the way for many homeschoolers.

Right now it is cold outside and I’ll admit— I’m a fair-weather nature walker! 🙂 But these solutions will help you overcome nature study myths.

Here is how to overcome 3 nature study myths. Does the thought of doing nature studies intimidate you? Let these ideas encourage you!

1. You must be able to identify every leaf, animal track, songbird and seed.

I can identify the pumpkin!

Guess what? You do not need to be a nature expert in order to enjoy nature studies! Pick up a couple of nature handbooks and learn along with your children! Here is more on The Handbook of Nature Study.

2. You must go on a 5 mile hike uphill both ways to make it count as a nature walk.

If you are a mom of toddlers or preschoolers, the thought of taking them far from home (or a bathroom) can cause you to dread going on a nature hike. I’ll tell you one of my secrets— our backyard is one of our favorite nature adventurelands! We have a normal suburban backyard but if you look, there are many natural treasures out there to be discovered.

Our local museum also has several different types of gardens on its campus. I love to take my children there because it is close to home, close to a bathroom, and a do-able outing for me with several young children. Someday I would love to be able to take my kids on longer hikes, but for this season, close to home is where we will do our nature observations.

3. Your kids must love nature in order to do a nature study.

Honestly, I rarely tell my kids, “Hey, we’re going on a nature walk!” Usually we all just need to get out and burn off some energy. I just happen to take them to places where it is easy to find things to observe. While they are walking (or running) I often engage them in a game of I Spy or I’m thinking of something… red, up high etc. These simple games help teach my kids observation skills. Then when we are out and about, they are used to looking at their surroundings and often find critters, leaves, rocks, twigs and more on their own.

Here is how to overcome 3 nature study myths. Does the thought of doing nature studies intimidate you? Let these ideas encourage you!

Resources For Nature Study in Your Homeschool

If you’ve been hesitant to start nature studies with your kids, the following resources offer great tips on how to get started:

Nature Study Printables for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Included in Homeschool Nature Study membership!

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Bring The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

For even more homeschool nature study ideas for all seasons, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

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Preschool Snow Activities and Printable Nature Journal

It’s polar-vortex cold outside but it’s hard not to love all the snow! So what do you do when it’s too cold to go out? You study all about snow while staying warm inside! 🙂 Below you’ll find 10 indoor winter activity ideas to go along with a printable snowflake  journal, plus several other winter-themed resources.

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students too.

Preschool Snow Activities

I decided to make another preschool science-themed paper bag journal! This set has six pages to add to a journal. It also includes six more free snowflake-themed journal pages!

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students.

1. Print out the snowflake journal pages. Have your students fill out any information before gluing into the paper bag journal. Paper bag journal assembly instructions can be found here.

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students.

2. Print out two copies of this sheet of snowflakes on to cardstock. Cut one set and have children match snowflakes on the uncut set, or cut both sets and play snowflake memory. Another option would be to print out on regular paper and have your student cut out the snowflakes and glue into their journal. Be sure to look through this site to see several collections of snowflake photos!

3. Take a winter nature walk and bring along our printable winter I Spy cards. How many objects can you spy on your walk? Too cold to go outside? Print and glue the images in your nature journal or use  as winter word cards and tuck into the paper bag.

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students.

4. Make a snowman bird feeder.

5. Enjoy a homeschool snow study.

6. Make frost in the comfort of your own home!

7. Paint snow indoors. (We are going to do this tomorrow!)

8. Make pattern block snowflakes.

9. Make your own snow — sensory bin activity.

10. Take a winter weather walk and print out the accompanying journal page.

Snow Homeschool Nature Studies for the Whole Family

In addition to preschool snow activities, enjoy these ideas for all ages!

Homeschool Nature Study on Crystals – Winter has arrived! If you have snow and ice around then now is the perfect time to do a homeschool nature study on crystals. If you live in warmer climates then we have some ideas on growing your own crystals.

Snow Outdoor Hour Challenge – In addition to a snow Outdoor Hour Challenge, learn how to catch and study snowflakes, how snow crystals are formed, learn to make your own snowflakes with a special recipe, a frozen spider web hunt, snowflake art and more!

Take a Silent Winter Walk!

Members also enjoy many snow-related learning links on the Nature Study Calendar.

Snow-themed Books

Whenever we do a theme, I love to incorporate books! Here are a few snow-themed books to set out and read together:

And when it’s time to warm up back inside, having a book basket of winter-related books helps continue the conversation. Here are a few of our favorite winter books:

Snowflake Bentley: A Winter Snowflake Study – This winter homeschool snowflake study combines the beauty of winter with the fascinating life of Snowflake Bentley.

Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening – we love this book and these tea time homeschool ideas!

Snowflakes in Photographs

Snowflake Science Activity Book

These preschool snow activities and nature journal are perfect for ages 2-5, Learn and have fun together as a family! With activities for older students.

Winter and Snow Nature Resources

More wintry ideas here:

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Bring The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

For even more homeschool nature study ideas for all seasons, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Do you have any other fun preschool snow activities?

By Maureen Spell, a long-time contributor to the Outdoor Hour Challenges. Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

 

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7 Fun Winter Nature Study Activities To Help Cure Cabin Fever

When it comes to winter, many people opt to stay indoors unless venturing out is necessary. However, nature has some pretty cool things to offer in winter, so it might be worth your time to go out and explore. Here are a few winter nature study activities that you can do with your kids on those days when you just need a break from cabin fever.

These winter nature activities are perfect for those days when you just need a break from cabin fever.

photo by Amy Law

Winter Nature Study Activities

Measure the Snow

If it snows during winter where you live, you and your kids could track how much snowfall your area gets during the season. All you would need is a ruler and notebook to record the measurements. You never know, it might become an annual tradition. It also might be interesting to be able to look back over the years to see which winters were the snowiest. Enjoy our Snow Homeschool Nature Study!

Make Snow Cones

When I was young, we would wait for the very first snowfall and as soon as there was a good pile of snow on the ground, we would go outside to collect some to make authentic snow cones. We weren’t fancy, so we would just pour a little fruit juice on top of scoops of freshly fallen snow, then devour it like it was the best treat in the world. Another option would be to make snow ice cream!

Study the Stars

Do your kids love watching the night sky? Bundle them up in some warm clothes, grab coats and blankets, load up on hot chocolate, and head outside to gaze at the stars. I personally think that winter is the best time to go star-gazing with kids. Why? Because it gets dark super early, so you can go out and watch the stars, but still have the kids in bed at their regular bedtime.

Look up at the nighttime sky and try to find the winter constellations, like Gemini, Orion, Taurus, Pegasus, and Cassiopeia. You can also look for bright stars like Betelgeuse, Polaris, and Rigel. Take it a step further by telling them the stories behind these celestial bodies. Enjoy our Spectacular Night Sky Nature Studies!

Here is how to make a snowman bird feeder in your own backyard. This is a fun winter idea for your homeschool nature study and feathered friends.

Bird-Watching

Although a lot of birds fly south for the winter, not all do. Try bird-watching to see which local birds stick it out in your area. Print out this Bird of the Day printable to keep track. Or, if you live in the South, see which ones come for an annual visit. You could even make homemade bird feeders to coax them into your yard, like this Snowman Bird Feeder!

Nature Journal

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, why not help your kids start a nature journal. They could draw pictures of things they see, scrapbooks some items, take pictures, or even just talk about the things that they experience during the winter months.


For younger students, we have a printable snowflake journal coming for you in the Preschool section of Homeschool Nature Study Membership. It’s easy to assemble and just their size.

Animal Tracks

Winter can be a great time to get an idea of the types of animals that live in your area. Especially when it snows. Walk around your backyard and neighborhood to see if you notice any animal footprints. Work with your kids to try to identify which animals they belong to. You might be surprised to learn about the various creatures that are all around you. Enjoy these winter nature study activities with Animal Tracks Nature Hunt: Mammals Homeschool Study!

Winter-Themed Books

And when it’s time to warm up back inside, having a book basket of winter-related books helps continue the conversation. Here are a few of our favorite winter books:

Snowflake Bentley: A Winter Snowflake Study – This winter homeschool snowflake study combines the beauty of winter with the fascinating life of Snowflake Bentley.

Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening – we love this book and these tea time homeschool ideas!

And more wintry ideas here:

These winter nature activities are perfect for those days when you just need a break from cabin fever.

The Outdoor Hour Challenges Bring The Handbook of Nature Study to Life in Your Homeschool!

For even more homeschool nature study ideas for all seasons, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

By Maureen Spell, a long-time contributor to the Outdoor Hour Challenges. Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com

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7 Tips for a Successful Outdoor Hour Challenge

These 7 tips for a successful outdoor hour challenge will help you and your family establish an easy and fun nature study routine.

These 7 tips for a successful outdoor hour challenge will help you and your family establish an easy and fun nature study routine.

What Is The Outdoor Hour Challenge?

This is a great question! And there is a simple answer. Basically there are three parts:

  • Inside preparation of a nature topic
  • Outdoor time (even 10-15 minutes!) looking for and learning about one or two topics (or whatever you find!)
  • Follow up time nature journaling about your topic

Just how do you get started in homeschool nature study? How do families participate in the Outdoor Hour Challenges? It is so simple to get started and we will show you how. Grab this free Homeschool Nature Study Guide and discover the joys of nature study in your homeschool.

7 Tips For A Successful Outdoor Hour Challenge

We spent a little while observing the weather in our own backyard this week! Summer weather always has something interesting going on for sure!

  1. The night before, or the morning of, I check to see what we’ll be studying. I love that I can access everything in the member section by computer or on the go on my phone!
  1. I pre-read the suggested pages in The Handbook of Nature Study. This book was not written to be read aloud word for word; so I try to get an idea of she’s saying before I go over it with my kids. Both of these steps take maybe 5 minutes altogether.
  2. Quickly gather supplies. We try to keep our supplies together in convenient places; so we don’t have to search all over the house for them.
  3. Sit down and go through the assigned pages in The Handbook of Nature Study together. There are usually other activities, such as watching a video, to do as well.
  4. Go outside and do the Outdoor Hour Challenge! This week it was observing the weather! We had beautiful weather to observe, using our senses! This can be as simple as spending 15 minutes in your own backyard, which we did today!
  5. Then, we come back inside and do our nature journaling. . .drawing/making observations on what we saw.
  6. Time for clean up!

Yes, it’s just that simple. 😉

More Tips For Nature Study In Your Homeschool

Here are some practical tips for you to use to get started!

How to Use the Outdoor Hour Challenges for Your Homeschool Family Nature Study – Here are some things to consider for your homeschool family nature study. Every family is different so use these tips to get started with simple and joyful Outdoor Hour Challenges.

5 Getting Started Tips for Your Homeschool Nature Study – What a delight nature study learning is and what joys you will discover outside your back door. We will help you with simple encouragement along the way.

30 Backyard Family Activities You Will Love! These 30 backyard family activities help you have fun outdoors with your children in a way that is easy and fun!

These 7 tips for a successful outdoor hour challenge will help you and your family establish an easy and fun nature study routine.

Support For Your Homeschool Nature Study

We’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, but, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside. It also 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.

We make it easy with resources you can use at your own pace and on your own schedule. Or, you may choose to follow our annual nature study plans closely and have everything at your fingertips.

Amy Law is wife to Jeremy, and mom to three. They homeschool using Charlotte Mason’s principles, and love to spend lots of time in nature! You can often find them hiking the beautiful trails of their beloved Tennessee hills, while Amy attempts to capture the beauty of it all with her camera lens.

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30 Backyard Family Activities You And Your Kids Will Love

These 30 backyard family activities help you have fun outdoors with your children in a way that is easy and fun!

Ever get the “Mom, I’m bored” line from your kids? Boredom is often the gateway to greater use of the child’s imagination, and saying “I’m bored” in our house usually receives the answer, of “go play outside. . . build a fort, climb a tree, watch a bug. . . or something like that.” Two hours later, that kid will come back in and say, “Mom, come see what I built/did/saw!” And, it’s usually pretty fantastic.

These 30 backyard family activities help you have fun outdoors with your children in a way that is easy and fun!

The Backyard Is An Ideal Place For Learning And Fun!

There are sooooo many things that can be done in your very own backyard, whether it is big or small.

Here are 30 different ideas to help you get started.

30 Backyard Family Activities Your Family Will Love

  • Find your “favorite” tree in your backyard (or the neighbor’s backyard), and study it and how it changes through the year. So much can be learned about seasons, and even animals that inhabit trees from one single tree.
  • One Square Foot. Pick an area of your yard, mark it off, and have the child stay right there and see what happens in that spot over the course of 15 minutes or so. What bugs will he see? What different plants can he see in his space?
  • Spend time gazing at the stars/constellations and learning about them. There are some wonderful, free apps that can help you with this!
  • On a hot day, run through the sprinkler!
  • Plant flowers together in flower beds or flower pots. Give your kids their own section to tend and weed on their own! They will probably love the idea of helping with the planning as well!
  • Hang up a bird feeder and keep it filled. So much joy can be found in watching backyard birds come take their fill.
  • Hang up a hummingbird feeder as well!
  • Are you living in an apartment? You can still study birds from birdseed/breadcrumbs on your balcony. Charlotte Mason was known to say that much can be done with Sparrows.
  • Plant a vegetable garden, or plant a few veggies or herbs in a pot! This can be done on an apartment balcony, too! Then, watch as sprouts and then baby vegetables appear! So much joy and wonder in this!
  • Plant flowers outside your house that attract bees and butterflies. A quick Google search will bring up lots of ideas for building a backyard habitat.
  • In the fall/winter/spring months, spend time planning next year’s garden together. This will help the kids be more excited about it when it comes time to plant!
  • Hang a simple swing from a mature tree in your yard! This can be as simple as a rope and a scrap piece of wood for a seat! There is nothing quite like swinging from a tree. . .so calming.
These 30 backyard family activities help you have fun outdoors with your children in a way that is easy and fun!
  • If you live where it snows, take advantage of that! Make snow forts, have snowball fights, build snowmen. You can even build a snowman bird feeder!
  • Study snowflakes under a magnifying glass or microscope, if you have one.j
  • Keep a family Calendar of Firsts. A notebook that you keep track of what blooms when throughout your year. Before you know it, your kids will come running in the house saying, “Mom!!! I just saw the first Bird’s Eye Speedwell! You have to write it down!”
  • Throw a frisbee or football in the backyard
  • Hang a hammock between two trees.
  • Build a tree fort together.
  • Purchase and care for your own flock of backyard chickens! Nature study and responsibility training combined!
  • Have a sand box or place kids can dig. It keeps them busy for hours!!!
  • Build paper boats and float them in a creek/pond/or large container of water. Or make a boat out of twigs with Victoria’s nature craft idea!
  • Climb a tree and read a favorite book.
  • Make a huge pile of fallen leaves and jump in them!
These 30 backyard family activities help you have fun outdoors with your children in a way that is easy and fun!
  • Have a picnic on an old quilt or blanket
  • Read a story aloud together outside!
  • Tell your kids to run to a certain part of the yard, look at everything there carefully, and then come back and tell you all about it!
  • Count how many different kinds of birds come to your bird feeder.
  • Pick a bouquet of flowers or produce from your garden to share with your neighbors.
  • Find a bug and watch what it does!
  • Gather twigs and other small nature items to make a fairy house.

Hopefully these ideas will help you keep the little people in your life happy and occupied!

More Resources For Family Nature Study

Backyard Camping: Fun For The Entire Family!

How to Use the Outdoor Hour Challenges For Your Homeschool Family Nature Study

The Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflowers Homeschool Nature Study (Outdoor Hour Challenges)

Discover Nature at Sundown: Family Summer Nature Study

Support For Your Homeschool Nature Study

We’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, but, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside. It also 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.

We make it easy with resources you can use at your own pace and on your own schedule. Or, you may choose to follow our annual nature study plans closely and have everything at your fingertips.

Amy Law is wife to Jeremy, and mom to three. They homeschool using Charlotte Mason’s principles, and love to spend lots of time in nature! You can often find them hiking the beautiful trails of their beloved Tennessee hills, while Amy attempts to capture the beauty of it all with her camera lens.

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7 Tips for Homeschool Nature Study at a Creek

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Seven tips for homeschool nature study at a creek

  1. If it’s well-shaded, go on a hot day. It’s amazing to see the temperature drop when you start wading. God’s air-conditioning. 😉
  2. Grab a friend or a cousin to go with you! You never know what they will find, too!
  3. Take your time. There is always so much to see in this environment, but sometimes you have to take a little more time to look closely.
  4. Bring along a net and a bucket to help you catch water creatures and observe them more closely.
  5. Don’t forget to gently release the animals where you found them! (Did you see how fast that stick bug disappeared when we let him go?!)
  6. Check the shoreline for insects and other animals that like to live near a creek.
  7. Keep going back to the same spot every once in a while! It’s so fun to see the changing seasons in one place, and learn what you’ll find there at different times of the year.

by Amy Law

A Year Long Brook Homeschool Nature Study

November (or any time of year) is a lovely time to begin a year long study of a creek or brook. We hope that you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving with your friends and family. After all that preparation and fun, a gentle walk beside your local creek or brook might be in order.

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Everything you need to guide you through starting a year long homeschool nature study on your local brook or stream can be found for our members in the November Outdoor Hour Challenges post. Let’s not waste anymore time, bundle up and let’s get outdoors!

While you are at it, Celebrate National Hiking Day in November!

Support For Your Homeschool Nature Study

We’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.

We make it easy with resources you can use at your own pace and on your own schedule. Or, you may choose to follow our annual nature study plans closely and have everything at your fingertips.

Have a fun adventure exploring a spot close to home! Here are our best tips for nature study at a creek.

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

-by Amy Law

Amy Law is wife to Jeremy, and mom to three. They homeschool using Charlotte Mason’s principles, and love to spend lots of time in nature! You can often find them hiking the beautiful trails of their beloved Tennessee hills, while Amy attempts to capture the beauty of it all with her camera lens.

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