Posted on 6 Comments

Bats Homeschool Nature Study: Mammals

Bats are fascinating and wonderful creatures. They are important for pollination of plants, they eat mosquitoes and other pests and are beneficial in many more ways. Enjoy this bats homeschool nature study on mammals that fly and have echolocation!

Bats are fascinating and wonderful creatures. Enjoy this bats homeschool nature study on mammals that fly and have echolocation!

You will enjoy a bat study if you are interested in learning about different kinds of flying creatures.

“Although the bat’s wings are very different from those of the bird, yet it is a rapid and agile flier. It flies in the dusk and catches great numbers of mosquitoes and other troublesome insects, upon which it feeds.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 243

If you ever get a chance to watch a bat fly, you will be amazed at their flying ability.

Getting Started In Homeschool Nature Study

If you do not already own the Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study ebook, be sure to download it for free. Next, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #2.

Try to take your fifteen minute nature walk at sunset or just when it turns dark. You can walk or sit quietly in a familiar place, using your senses to really get to know this time of day. After you go inside, make sure to help your child record a few words in their nature journal or use the notebook page that is provided in the ebook.

For further bat study, here is a general video about bats. Please preview the video because parts of it may make your children a little squeamish. There is also a reference to evolution.

Bats Homeschool Nature Study: Books To Read

1. Read pages 241-245 in the Handbook of Nature Study. Although the lesson for bats states that it should not be given unless you can directly observe bats in person, I think this interesting creature deserves his own Outdoor Hour Challenge. Make sure to watch the video about bats and then proceed with the lesson suggestions. If you need additional information, use the resources at the end of this challenge.


2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Story 21. Use the illustration on page 128 to prompt a narration after reading the story about the Little Brown Bat.

Bats Study: Mammal Outdoor Hour Challenge

This week during your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time, look for any mammals in your neighborhood or in a near-by park. Many of us will not find any mammals to observe or signs of mammals like scat or tracks. This should not discourage us from taking the time to be outdoors with our children. More ideas in the Ultimate List of Mammals Study with the Outdoor Hour Challenges and Animal Tracks Nature Hunt.

Bats are fascinating and wonderful creatures. Enjoy this bats homeschool nature study on mammals that fly and have echolocation!

Simple Tips for Your Homeschool Nature Study

Try some of the techniques that we have worked on in the past.

  • Stand or sit quietly and see what you can hear.
  • Take a magnifying lens and look at an object up close.
  • Make a small square with yarn and see what you can find in to look at within that small square.
  • Look at the sky and observe the clouds.

Use the methods that have worked in the past and see what you can come up with this week to share with your children.

Bats are fascinating and wonderful creatures. Enjoy this bats homeschool nature study on mammals that fly and have echolocation!

4. After your walk, discuss any interesting things that you observed. Help your child to find words for their experience. Record their words on paper and have them sketch a simple drawing for their nature journal. Use some of the ideas that worked in the past like a rubbing of a leaf or feather. Take photos for your nature journals.

Research and record what you learned about the bat this week from reading in the Handbook of Nature Study. One idea would be to sketch and record how a bat’s wings are different from a bird’s wings. You could discuss why a bat is considered a mammal and how it differs from other mammals that we have studied. Keep it simple but make some connections this week.

benefits of homeschool nature study membership

Homeschool Nature Study Members Enjoy More Studies

Members will find these resources in your Autumn course in Homeschool Nature Study membership:

  • Bats and The Sense of Hearing Outdoor Hour Challenge
  • Lessons Around Nature at Sundown
  • Bat coloring page
  • Advanced bat studies and more activities

Members also enjoy access to:

  • NEW, weekly Outdoor Hour Challenges to bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!
  • the annual nature study plans
  • matching courses with materials and journaling pages
  • interactive calendar with daily nature study prompts
  • Nature Journaling course
  • and MUCH more!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Posted on Leave a comment

The Ultimate Mammals Homeschool Nature Study Using Outdoor Hour Challenges

You can enjoy a simple mammals homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard. It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures!

NOTE: All of the mammals homeschool nature study resources listed are available as an Outdoor Hour Challenge in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. If you have a membership, you will be able to pull up the Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your mammals nature study.

Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

Mammals Homeschool Nature Study Using Outdoor Hour Challenges (in Nature Study Membership)

  • Animal Tracks Hunt – Mammals Outdoor Hour Challenge
  • Bats – Summer course
  • Bear – Forest Fun course
  • Beavers
  • Cats – Spring course
  • Cattle and Deer – Winter Continues course
  • Chipmunks – Autumn course (An example of a chipmunks and squirrel study with Homeschool Nature Study here)
  • Coyote – High Desert course
  • Elk – High Desert ebook
  • Goats – More Spring Nature Course
  • Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel – High Desert course
  • Horses – Autumn course
  • Moose – Forest Fun course
  • Mountain Lion – High Desert course
  • Mouse – More Summer course
  • Muskrat – Creepy Things course
You can enjoy a simple mammals homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard.
  • Pig – Autumn Continues course
  • Pocket Gopher – High Desert course
  • Porcupine – Forest Fun course
  • Rabbits
  • Raccoons – Summer course
  • Rats
  • River Otter – High Desert course
  • Sheep – More Winter course
  • Skunks – Summer course
  • Skunks and Badgers
  • Squirrels and Squirrels with Rodent Notebooking Page
  • Winter Mammals from Winter Wednesday course
  • Winter Mammals Hiberation – Winter Wednesday course
  • Winter Mammal Tracks – Winter course
  • Wolf, Fox, and Dog
  • Woodchuck, Groundhog, Prairie Dog, and Marmot
We’re starting with a favorite topic, black bears! Enjoy a bear nature study in your homeschool with this Outdoor Hour Challenge and bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool.

Additional Mammal Homeschool Activities Included with Membership

  • Mammal Outdoor Hour Challenge Notebook Page
  • Mammal notebook page
  • Running List of Mammals printable notebook page
  • Looking for Signs and Tracks
  • Mammal nature study journal idea printable. Mammals at the zoo.
homeschool nature study membership for families

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these mammals resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing series on mammals plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. 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!

first published 2011 by Barb and updated by Tricia 2022

Posted on Leave a comment

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Bat Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Bat Nature Study

From the Archives and from the Summer Nature Study ebook

We’re going to have some fun listening to the sounds of nature at night as we learn about bats! Everyone can get outside in the evening and use their senses to learn more about this time of day when many animals are active.

Make sure to check out the links at the bottom of the archive bat challenge for a closer look at these mammals that fly!

Summer Nature Study Ebook

Join us for this exciting series of nature study topics as we work through the Summer Nature Study – Using Your Senses ebook. Don’t get hung up on the title of the ebook because these nature study topics are applicable at all times of the year. Where I live we don’t have summer or even real spring conditions yet, but we’re going to get outside in the evenings as the days get longer to make observations and learn more about things that happen at sundown.

This ebook is found in the Ultimate level membership for you to download and use with your family. If you would like to gain access to this ebook, you can purchase a membership now and have instant access.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Use the discount code BIRDLOVER5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership.

Posted on 1 Comment

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Summer Bat Study

Summer Bat Study @handbookofnaturestudy
Outdoor Hour Challenge: Bat Study
You will find loads of ideas and resources for a summer bat study using the challenge from the Summer Series 2010: Summer Bats and the Sense of Hearing.

Printable Notebook Page
My Mammal List: You can use this printable page instead of the running list notebook page if you wish to keep your mammal list by season. Reprint this page for every season and then compare your lists.

Getting Started Suggestion:

If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #2. Try to take your fifteen minute nature walk at sunset or just when it turns dark. You can walk or sit quietly in a familiar place, using your senses to really get to know this time of day. After you go inside, make sure to help your child record a few words in their nature journal or use the notebook page that is provided in the ebook.

Blog Logo 1

Posted on 3 Comments

Nighttime Critters – Our List from the July Newsletter

Summer evenings outdoors….with our chiminea.

We have been working on our July Newsletter Nighttime Critter Challenge all month. I wanted to post a little of what we are observing and learning to give you an idea of how you can pick a few things from your area to study in the evening hours.  I will update our list after the end of the month with any new finds.

Our most predominant nighttime critters of interest are the Brown bats that come every single night to fly in our backyard. I wrote about them back in May as part of mammal study.  For the July newsletter challenge for Nighttime Critters, I decided to share a few of our other nighttime visitors of interest. This study was sort of on-going because when the weather is hot, we tend to drag sleeping bags out to the back deck to sleep in the cool night air. We all lay awake and listen and watch as the nighttime settles in around us.

Shooting stars, satellites zipping across the sky, the moon, the swaying trees in the breeze, and the night sounds all entertain us as we wait for sleep to come.

Great Horned Owl Nature Journal
Fill In The Circle and Fill In With Color Example – Poor owl sketch…he has such a crooked beak.

One of the things that we have discovered sleeping outside on hot summer nights is that we have quite a few great horned owls in our neighborhood. We can hear them calling back and forth right after the sun goes down and then again at around 5 AM. Here is a link to and if you click the sound button, you will hear the two types of sounds we hear from our owls: Great Horned Owls. We have yet to actually see them but they are out there…no doubt about it.

We also are serenaded by crickets when the temperatures get just right. It is amazing how you don’t hear any crickets and then all of a sudden it is as if someone turned on a cricket soundtrack and they all chirp at the same time. The lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study gives a great illustration showing the parts of the cricket and an excellent explanation of how he “sings”. (Lesson 82)

 “The wing covers are much shorter than the abdomen and beneath them are vestiges of wings, which are never used. The male has larger wing covers than the female, and they are veined in a peculiar scroll pattern. This veining seems to be a framework for the purpose of making a sounding board of the wing membrane, by stretching it out as a drumhead is stretched.” Handbook of Nature Study.

Turn in your copy of the Handbook of Nature Study to read much more in the lesson explaining this interesting creature.There is such a simple explanation of the mechanics of the crickets chirping that it is perfect for sharing with younger children. The crickets and the frogs compete in our neighborhood for the winner of the “background” noise. It seems as if one or the other is singing their little hearts out.

We smell skunks quite a few nights a week. Sleeping outside we hear rustling in the garden and I think it is the skunk. I know they dig around the base of the birdfeeder outside our window but over the years I have decided that if he leaves me alone, I will leave him alone. Here is another entry where I talk about our nighttime visitors.

Nighttime Critter LIst - Outdoor Hour Challenge
List from the July Newsletter. I cut it out and taped it inside my nature journal.

One last nighttime critter we have had around the neighborhood is the raccoon. Our neighbor has been sharing how they keep forgetting to bring in the dog’s food dish at night and the raccoon has decided that it makes a easy snack taken just outside their patio door. We have had our share of raccoons in the yard over the years but we haven’t seen any lately. Here is an entry sharing one raccoon experience: Raccoon Visitor.

Well that gives you a taste of what we have around here in the evenings. I just thought of something else I need to put on my list….moths.

I look forward to reading about your nighttime critters. Don’t forget to post your entry and then submit it to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival before 7/30/11 for a chance in the July Newsletter giveaway!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Posted on 3 Comments

May Mammal Nature Study: Bats…Revisited (+Who gets the Watercolors?)

5 18 11 Sunset Sky
Sunset – time for mosquitoes and almost time for bats.

We have been on the lookout for a mammal subject for our May nature study. I included it in the May Newsletter suggested study because I was really hoping to see our fox friend in our yard this month.  I have been wanting to do some research on him, but he has only left some scat behind and we haven’t actually seen him.

What would we study for our May mammal?

Well, remember a few weeks ago we had a bat visitor inside the house? My husband suggested that we learn about bats. Sigh. I don’t really like bats and we already had done a quick study with OHC #49. I wasn’t convinced until night before last. We were sitting outside eating dinner for the very first time this year…our normal spring/summer routine….and the mosquitoes were driving us crazy! There is an abundance of these pesky little critters right now and I commented that we needed to do something about them. My husband mentioned that we should encourage the bats because they eat lots of mosquitoes and they would help keep the population down.

Aha! A positive reason to study the bats!

We spent some time at dusk sitting outside to wait for the bats and they didn’t disappoint us. They came in and swooped at head level, zooming around the yard with amazing agility. We did some reading in the HNS and online the next day and here are some of the points we gleaned about our flying mammal friends.

  • Members of the family Chiroptera, meaning winged hand.
  • Only real flying mammal.
  • Most North American bats are insectivores, eating about 1,200 insects an hour or approximately 6,000 insects a night.
  • You can attract bats in several ways- build a bat house and/or leave a light on so the insects cluster, making a dinner spot for the bats.
  • We found this website informative for our local area: Northern California Bats
Bat nature journal (1)
May Newsletter journal idea – Fill In The Circle (bat drawn by Mr. A)

I have had a few readers ask me what kind of nature journal I use to watercolor in and I will give you a link to an entry where I discuss my choice: Autumn Series #1. Well there you go…our May mammal study finished and just in time to start thinking about all our June nature study subjects. Our family is really loving the new format of the Outdoor Hour Challenge and the freedom it has given us to pursue a variety of subjects as they have come up in our daily life.

Don’t forget to send in your nature study entries by 5/30/11 for the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. You can submit your entries HERE.

Gerbera daisy journal with field watercolor set
The winner of the giveaway from last week’s watercolor sketch entry is Corrine from Boston! 
(I used a random number generator to pick the winner.) Corrine chose the Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box! Congrats!

Posted on 4 Comments

Edible Garden

4 30 11 Lilac

I think I forgot the sounds that come in open windows in the mornings and evenings. Winter requires the house to be shut up too much but with open windows I woke this morning to a an owl hooting in the neighbor’s tree.

“I’m awake! You Too!” he was calling.

What a great sound and it makes me wonder what all I have been missing closed up in the house for the winter.

This evening I am hearing crickets for the first time and the call of the tree frogs from across the street. It makes me happy to think we have reached the point where we can have open windows and doors to bring a little of nature back into our house. The mosquitoes are buzzing tonight too….found one in my bedroom and had to give him a swat. Now that I could do without.

We are busy working on weeding the garden walkways and preparing beds for seeds. This is a joyful, hopeful time. Outdoor Hour Challenge #12 includes choosing and planting flower seeds and I thought our family might include that as part of our first challenge for the month of May. (If you purchased the Garden Flowers Ebook you will have that challenge and corresponding notebook pages to go along with it.) I will share our seeds in separate entry later this week.

In the meantime, I thought I could share a little of the edibles in our garden landscaping. We try to mix edible plants with our flowers so we can harvest a little homegrown yummy-ness when the time comes.  It also is such a treat to have a little handful of something each afternoon when we are outside…a couple of blueberries, a strawberry, or a grape popped in the mouth make even the fussiest of kids happier when they are helping to work in the garden.(You can read more of my tips for nature study and gardening with very young children HERE.

4 18 11 Blueberries

The blueberry bushes really are not all that happy looking. They are all covered in fresh green leaves but I am needing to read up on what a blueberry needs to really get established. I seem to remember something about how they like a pine needle mulch.

4 18 11 Strawberry blossoms

Mr. A’s strawberries are looking incredible and there are dozens of blossoms and little baby strawberries filling the box. These are an easy crop to get started and we purchased ever-bearing and June bearing plants so we will have a longer harvest. (There is a challenge for strawberries if you are interested.)

4 18 11 Pear Blossoms

We were very surprised to see so many blossoms on the pear tree this year. We had pruned it way back to keep it out of the neighbor’s yard and this seems to have been agreeable to the tree. We might get a dozen pears this year….well, we can hope for that.

4 28 11 Garden birdfeeder figs
Figs….does anyone really like figs? This tree was here when we moved in 25 years ago and we have tried to cut it down several times, just to have it grow back more lush than ever. We have finally come to grips with it and we share the fruits with those in our lives who enjoy them. The birds like them too so I guess it is worth the mess.

4 28 11 Garden birdfeeder  with tomato and grapes

Tomato in a pot to cover the ugly stump….sounds like a good idea and if it doesn’t do well we can always move it. We also have seedless grapes planted there on the fence to shield the ugly propane tank from view when we are sitting on the back deck. They vines get so green and climb all over, producing little sweet bites to nibble when I am out in the back watering in the hot summer sun. (There is a challenge for tomatoes if you are interested.) Do you have a place for a tomato in a pot?

Bat in house 5 11 (1)

Another reminder to us: Keep the back door closed in the evenings. This bat made its way INTO the house last week. The cat may have brought it inside but we aren’t entirely sure. We had a comedy act going on trying to get it to fly back outside. My boys ran and got the butterfly net and we were able to get him in the corner and inside the net. He really calmed down and just hung in the net long enough for us to get a good look at him. We released him outside and he fly away so gracefully. (There is a challenge for bats if you are interested.)

We are ready to start doing some nature study and the boys have been discussing what subjects we will study for the month as part of the new format of the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Don’t forget you can pick from any of the topics: wildflowers, garden flowers, birds, and/or mammals. You can chose one from each category or stick with one topic and study four of them in a row. Please feel free to make the challenges work and build on interest you find with your children. Don’t forget to submit your blog entries that you complete to the OHC Blog Carnival.

Enjoy your week!