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A Robert Frost Style Winter Nature Study for Your Homeschool

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Frost’s poem, Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

There was so much snow in our favorite woods…it brought to mind the Robert Frost poem that we have been reading in our poetry study the past few weeks.

A Robert Frost Stopping By The Woods Winter Nature Study

“Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.”

Robert Frost (Few lines from Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, 1923).

Using Snowshoes or Cross Country Skis for a Snow Hike

Our Winter Wednesday color walk and cattail observations were combined into one snowy hike…snowshoes firmly attached. It started off with 18 degree weather but by the time we finished it was around 40 degrees, sun shining brightly.

Look for Winter Colors in Your Homeschool Nature Study

We started off with not much aim other than looking for colors and finding the cattail pond. I decided that it is nice to have something in mind as we head out in the really cold air….otherwise you keep your eyes down and forget to look up and out.

The color palette of this snowy world is actually quite beautiful. The blue sky, the evergreen pines, the red-yellow-orange of the shrubs, the colorful lichens, and the blue of the lake really stand out against all the snow.

1 6 11 Cattails at Taylor Creek with snow
Our cattails this year are quite secluded and we aren’t even sure if we will be able to get out here since we think this is marshy in the spring and summer. It will be interesting to see how the terrain changes by the season.

1 6 11 Cattails in the snow Taylor Creek
Look at the mountain covered with snow! The colors really pop when you have all this whiteness going on…blue sky, reddish-oranges of the willow and dogwood, green evergreens.

1 6 11 Snowshoe trail

Keep Your Cross Country Ski Route in Mind

It seems unlikely that we would get lost but we did wander around following someone else’s path. It is a really good idea to have in mind a route when you are out in the woods like this. We knew our general direction but you get tired trudging through large amounts of snow even with snowshoes on. (I also got hot…too many layers.)

Our problem was that there are two large creeks that run through the snowy meadows and if you don’t plan it right you are stuck on one side with the water running between you and the rest of the path. I could see where animals had just jumped across the gap but with snowshoes on, you don’t jump very well. We had to find a way to go around.

1 6 11 Taylor Creek with Snow
Another factor is that with all this snow, our familiar landmarks are erased. The bushes are flat with snow and there is far more water than we are used to. All those lumps are bushes weighed down with a couple feet of snow. You can’t really hike over the top. Going around again.

1 6 11 Snow Shoes at Taylor Creek
In the end, we made it back to the car by following the creek and finding the bridge. It was a wonderful romp through the woods, successful in refreshing our hearts with some wonderful awesome vistas that you would never see if you didn’t break out the snowshoes or cross-country skis.

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

A Homeschool Snow Study

If you don’t have snowshoes or cross-country skis, you can still enjoy a fun homeschool snow study! Browse all of these fun ideas: Homeschool Snow Study

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

A Robert Frost Art Lesson and Tea Time

Follow up your outdoor hour time with a fun art and homeschool tea time! Fun ideas for Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening Homeschool Tea Time with You ARE an ARTiST. A printable Robert Frost poem is included in ARTiST Clubhouse membership.

You might also like a Winter Snowflake Study with Snowflake Bentley.

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

More Winter Homeschool Nature Study

Here are even more winter nature studies for you to enjoy together:

Be sure to share photos of your Robert Frost winter nature study with us! Tag us @outdoorhourchallenge

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Written by Outdoor Hour Challenge founder, Barb McCoy in 2011. Updated by Tricia 2022.

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Year Long Study – Spring Cattail

Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Cattail Observations @handbookofnaturestudy

Start Here:Spring Cattail Nature Study

We are eagerly anticipating the spring season here in Central Oregon. In the meantime, we will plan our spring cattail nature study and keep our eyes out for the opportunity to study them soon!

If you have a near-by park that has a pond or little stream, look for cattails along the bank. Here are a few suggestions from the original challenge linked above:

  • Make sure to encourage your child to sketch the cattail leaves.
  • Try to include a little of the habitat that your cattails are growing in during this season.
  • Include in your sketch any insects, birds, or animals that you observed near your cattails during your outdoor time.


Spring Cattail Observation notebook pageIf you’re a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study, there’s a notebook page you can use to record your spring cattail nature study observations listed in the printables section of your membership.


Links to prior season’s Outdoor Hour Challenges:

Autumn Cattail Nature Study – Free Printable

Winter Cattail Nature Study-Free Printable

Spring Ebooks Graphic button

There are many more spring related nature study ideas in the four ebooks shown above. You can find them in the Ultimate Naturalist membership library.


Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Use discount code OHC10 for $5 off any membership!

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New Printables for Members – March 2019

Now available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships:

New Notebook Pages: Spring Willow Study and Spring Cattail Study

Spring Cattail Observation notebook pageSpring Willow Study notebook page

(See the end of this post for more information on how you can become a member.)

Spring Willow Study: Use this simple notebook page to record your spring willow observations of the bud and catkin. 

Spring Cattail Study: Here is a new page for you to use after you make your spring cattail observations.

Note: If you have any subjects you would like me to create nature notebook pages for, please let me know in a comment here on the blog or in an email:


Printables for Members Button

Print a complete list of printables available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships by clicking the button above.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Use the discount code NATURE5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership!

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Our Winter Cattail Observations

We can’t get too close to our winter cattails because they’re in a pond surrounded by icy waters. But, we saw them from a distance as we took a nice winter walk along the river and then down around the bend.

winter cattails

In the summer the pond is lined with pretty, sheltering willows and the cattails are growing from the edge out to the middle “island”. Often we can spy mallards and Canada goose in the water but there’s no sign of those birds right now. Instead, the pond is a frozen spot with some tracks zig zagging from side to side. We’ve seen coyotes, otters, signs of a beaver, and even a mountain lion in this area so it’s hard to say who is walking around on the frozen surface.

winter cattails pond

It’s never too late to start your own year-long cattail study, even if you didn’t start it back in autumn. Pick up here and join us! Click the graphic below to go to the original winter study challenge here on the Handbook of Nature Study. Click here for the Autumn Cattail Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Cattail Observations @handbookofnaturestudy

Although the winter season is coming to a close, you may be able to squeeze in a few of the ideas from the winter ebook. Check out the list of winter nature study ideas by clicking above.

Winter Nature Study ebooks graphic and promo

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Autumn Cattails Nature Study and Printable

Autumn Cattail Nature Study

Autumn Cattails Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudyKids and cattails are a great combination for a fun autumn nature study and your autumn search for cattails can begin this week! When the original autumn cattail Outdoor Hour Challenge was posted years ago, I asked my boys if they knew where any cattails were growing. Amazingly, they knew a couple places around town where they were growing so we were off on a cattail adventure. Read the lesson material in the Handbook of Nature Study and use the suggestions in the linked post below to make a detailed autumn study.

Potential Year-Long Nature Study

This could be the start of a year-long study of cattails in which you observe a designated patch of cattails once each season to watch the changes. As the year progresses, the complete life cycle story of not only the cattails but the rest of the critters that live around them begins to emerge. Such a valuable nature study lesson!

Autumn Cattails Nature Study – Handbook of Nature Study Lesson 131

Archive Outdoor Hour Challenge – Click the link above to take you to the original challenge and a free printable notebook page for your family to use each season for your cattail study.

cattail up close

“The cattail is adapted for living in swamps where the soil is wet but not under water all the time….They usually occur in marshy zones along lakes or streams; and such a zone is always sharply defined by dry land on one side and water on the other.”

Handbook of Nature Study, Page 502

Make sure to click the link below to read the entire Outdoor Hour Challenge with helpful links, nature study ideas, printable notebooking pages, and suggested follow-up activities.

Autumn Cattails Nature Study – Handbook of Nature Study Lesson 131


Link to the notebook page: Seasonal Cattail Notebook Page

OHC Plan 18 to 19 Join Us

This Outdoor Hour Challenge is part of the 2018-2019 Plan here on the Handbook of Nature Study. We’ll be using the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock to discover new things about the world around us. Join us each Friday for a different nature study topic. Make sure to subscribe to this blog to receive the weekly challenge right in your email box.

Links to our family’s past cattail studies for inspiration:

Our Cattail Study – This archive post brings back happy memories of nature study with my boys. I also share in this entry a few hints for water coloring a cattail.

Beautiful Cattails – This entry will inspire additional nature study topics that go along with your cattail study.

Please note these are affiliate links to books I own and love.


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Family Rock Study – Looking for Mica

Mica has been our rock seeking list for the past two years. Remember when I was trying to find, collect, and journal about all the rocks in the book Rocks, Fossils & Arrowheads ?

This was part of my Nature Study Goals in 2013.

Rock study book journal list

I wasn’t completely successful in 2013 and now in 2014 I finally pushed us to get out and find some mica close to home. It is actually muscovite which is abundant in California and in the county where I live. I can’t believe how much time I have spent looking into this rock. I am just not a confident rockhound.

Here is a glimpse into our mica rock study.


So some sources said we have muscovite mica and some say mica schist. I am not completely sure what the difference is between the two (if any). I will just call it mica.

winter cattails

We visited our cattail site and took a look at the changes to the plants during the past few months.  You may wish to start or continue your own year-long cattail study. Make sure to mark your weekly planner for a date coming up soon.

bracket fungi 1

We were able to spy some cool bracket fungi.. a little late for our official bracket fungi study but still so very interesting.

bracket fungi 2

There was water collected in the top that was shaped like a cup.

Well, that was our mica rock walk and study. I am still trying to come up with a better way to identify rocks without taking hours and hours. Any suggestions are appreciated!


Just a note to all my faithful readers.

I will be sharing how my Nature Study Goals for 2014 turned out and posting my 2015 goals soon. Look for a printable for your to use to record you nature study goals here on the blog soon.

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Summer Cattail Study – Our Cattail Spot

Summer Cattail Study 1

Summer Cattail Study- link to the current challenge

We made a trip to our cattail spot for our summer observations. We are in the middle of a drought in my part of California and I was sure that our cattail spot would be dry. I was right.

Summer Cattails (5)

There was no water at all in the pond for this summer observation. The cattail plants were still green but the ground was bone dry.

Summer Cattails (4)

The cattail flowers were really large and the soft parts were much longer than in previous years. What does that mean I wonder?

Summer Cattails (3)

I am estimating that if I was able to stand on the ground next to the cattails that they would be taller than I am…much more than 6 feet I think.

Compare the scene to spring.

Here is a link to our spring cattail observations and journal: Spring Cattail Observations.

Here is what it looked like then.

April 2014 Spring Cattail Observations

The area has filled in a lot since April but the water is all gone making it look very different. We shall now look forward to making some autumn observations.

Have you made your summer cattail observations?

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Summer Cattail Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Cattail Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge:

This week we are going to use our senses and do a little cattail observation! Make sure to click over to the original challenge to see the list in the Train Your Senses section to get some ideas for your family to try. Also in the challenge, make sure to read the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study. If you already started a year-long cattail study, revisit your spring spot and note the changes.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Series: Cattail Observations

Special Activity: Pond Study Grid and Bookmark Printable

As a bonus for this challenge I am including the Summer Pond Study notebook page and the Pond Study Grid from the August 2011 Newsletter!

Getting Started Suggestion:

If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #3.  This week you should take a trip to your cattail patch and make some drawings. You can use a blank page in your nature journal or use the notebook page included in the ebook.

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Spring Cattail Observations and Journal Page

Spring Cattail Observations and Journal @handbookofnaturestudy

Our challenge from last week was to find and observe some spring cattails: Springtime Cattail Observations. We headed over to our local park where we had observed some fabulous cattails last year. Because of the drought, there are not as many as we had noticed during the summer of 2013 and they were much smaller than expected. We are going to mark our calendar to make some summer observations and compare our results.

April 2014 Spring Cattail Observations

There was enough water in the pond to see a beautiful reflection of the clouds and there were insects making little ripples and bubbles in the water. We estimated that the cattails were about three feet high and we will compare the height when we return this summer.

Cattail Fluff spring observations

When we took a closer look at the water’s edge, we saw an old cattail that had disintegrated into a soft pile of fluff. What a great find!

Spring Cattails Nature Topper Journal Page @handbookofnaturestudy

Using the Nature Journal Topper from the April 2014 newsletter, I created a nature journal page with some of my observations and a simple sketch.

Hopefully, your family will get a chance to find a place with cattails for your springtime observations. If you started a year-long study already, return to your cattail spot to make some comparisons for your nature journal.

Do you know where there are cattails in your area?


Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Spring Cattail Observations

Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Cattail Observations @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge:

This is a classic springtime study here on the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Take a few minutes this week to think about where you might find some cattails to observe. If nothing else, take a walk at a local stream or pond to explore the springtime weather with your children.

Spring Cattail Observations: This challenge has some simple cattail observations to try with your family.

Spring Cattail Observations: You will find a free printable notebook page in this challenge.

Special Activity:Watercolor Activity

Take some time this week to pull out the watercolors to record your springtime cattail in your nature journal. Fun Suggestion: Use the water from your stream or pond to watercolor!

I searched on Pinterest for “watercolor cattails” and I found loads of inspiration to get started: Pinterest – Watercolor Cattails.

Getting Started Suggestion:

If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #2.   Take a walk and then discuss with your children what they enjoyed during their outdoor time. Help them find words to record in their nature journal or you can follow up with the accompanying notebook page from the ebook. Additional idea: While you are out during your outdoor time, find a wildflower, weed, or leaf to put into your flower press.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

Note: You can find the Getting Started ebook in all levels of membership here at the Handbook of Nature Study.