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 1 Comment

OHC More Nature Study #6 Chipmunks

“While the chipmunk is a good runner and jumper, it is not so able a climber as is the red squirrel, and it naturally stays nearer the ground.”
Handbook of Nature Study page 239

OHC More Nature Study #6

Inside Preparation Work:

Chipmunk illustration
Golden Treasury of Natural History from 1952

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Go on a chipmunk hunt! Spend a few minutes of your Outdoor Hour time for this challenge looking for chipmunks. Chipmunks and squirrels are diurnal, or active during the day.
  • If you observe a squirrel instead of a chipmunk, make some observations and comparisons. Compare color, stripes, tail, and behavior.
Squirrel illustration
Golden Treasury of Natural History from 1952 – love the expression

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Give the opportunity for discussion and follow-up to your chipmunk hunt. Complete a notebook page (ebook users), a nature journal page, and/or the coloring page (ebook users only) for you nature journal.
  • Advanced Follow-Up: Compare a chipmunk and a squirrel by careful observation. Subjects can include: stripes, tails, behavior, diet, size, voice.
  • Advanced Follow-Up: Research and record in your nature journal about the method the chipmunk uses for building his home. There is a notebook page in the ebook to record your study.

Additional Links:
Chipmunk Lapbook and Unit Study on
For Advanced Study: Chipmunks.

More Nature Study Autumn

This challenge is part of the More Nature Study – Autumn series. All of the challenges are gathered into one ebook with notebooking pages (regular and for advanced students) and additional resources. You can gain access to this ebook by purchasing an Ultimate Naturalist membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. See the Join Us page by clicking the link at the top of the website for more information about what comes with your Ultimate membership.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy



Posted on 7 Comments

Outdoor Hour Challenge #50 Mammals-Skunk and Badger

Outdoor Hour Challenge
#50 Skunk and Badger

This week there are some great videos to share with your children to capture their interest.

PBS Nature Skunk
This video series is excellent and we learned more than we ever wanted to know about skunks. You must watch this for yourself even if you don’t watch it with your children.

Here is a video about badgers.

Wow! Those critters can dig!

1. Read pages 245-247 in the Handbook of Nature Study.
Resources for the skunk
Resource for badger

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 22-23. Use the illustrations on pages 135 and 110 to prompt a narration your child’s narration if needed.

3. This week during your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time, keeping an eye out for signs of mammals as you walk. In our area we many times will smell a skunk but not see him. If you have the opportunity over the next few weeks, point out the fragrance of a skunk to your children.

  • Another idea this week is to carry a small pouch or bag to collect any nature items you find while you are outdoors.
  • Start or add to a nature collection. (see challenge 6)
  • Did you find any animal tracks this week? Take photos or make a mental note of how they looked for further research.

4. After your walk, take a few minutes to discuss anything your child found interesting during their outdoor time. If they collected items in a bag, pull those objects out and take a closer look with your magnifying lens. Use a Mammal notebook page to record what you learned about skunks and badgers this week. Complete the Seasonal Weather Study notebook page and file it in with your autumn observations. You could talk about the differences between what you observed in autumn and those things you recorded this time. How is the scene you drew this week different from the autumn scene? How are the temperatures different? Is there a difference in the number of hours of daylight?

Additional resources for this challenge:


Posted on 22 Comments

Outdoor Hour Challenge #45 Mammals: Squirrels

Here comes this week’s challenge. I happen to have a squirrel that visits my backyard and from time to time he gives us a little show. You can be sure we will be doing some direct observation this week. We also noticed some signs of squirrels on our last Winter Wednesday walk so we will be looking up some information about that too.
Outdoor Hour Challenge

#45 Squirrels

(You may also like to use the Autumn Series Challenge for Squirrels for additional information.) 

1. Read pages 233-237 in the Handbook of Nature Study. Use your highlighter to mark the sections with facts you can share with your children. There are plenty of observation suggestions in Lesson 57 on pages 236 and 237. Keep these ideas in mind as you take your nature walk this week.

“The squirrel’s legs are short because he is essentially a climber rather than a runner; the hips are very strong, which insures his power as a jumper, and his leaps are truly remarkable.”

“The squirrel has two pairs of gnawing teeth which are very long and strong, as in all rodents, and he needs to keep busy gnawing hard things with them, or they will grow so long that he cannot use them at all and will starve to death.”

“During the winter, the red squirrel does not remain at home except in the coldest weather, when he lies cozily with his tail wrapped around him like a fur neck-piece to keep him warm.”
Handbook of Nature Study, pages 234 and 235

Here is an additional fact sheet on squirrels:

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 4-6. Take a few minutes after reading each story to have your child narrate to you some interesting points from the story. Use the illustrations on pages 30, 36, and 41 of the book to get the narration going if they are having trouble getting started.

3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. As you walk, discuss where you might find a squirrel in your neighborhood. Remind your child where a squirrel lives and what it eats. If you know you have a squirrel in your yard or at your local park, take along some nuts or seeds to put out and observe the squirrel eating. Never feed a squirrel by hand. Don’t worry if you cannot observe a squirrel this week. Enjoy your outdoor time and observe any mammals that you come into contact with during your walk.

4. For your nature journal you can write out your observations from your squirrel watching. Use the observation suggestions for ideas to include in your entry: describe the color of the fur, how the eyes are placed, what do the paws look like, how does the squirrel climb up and down a tree, the sound the squirrel makes as he expresses himself, show the tracks that the squirrel makes in the snow. If you did not observe a squirrel, you can use any of the additional resources to include in your nature journal this week.

Would you like a printable notebook page to use along with your squirrel nature study?

Squirrel or Rodent Nature Study


Note this is an Amazon affiliate link to a product that I have used and loved for many,many years.