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Pond Life – 4 Seasons Activity

Pond Study Nature Club August 2018 @handbookofnaturestudy

Handbook of Nature Study

Nature Book Club – August

Seasonal Pond Study with Printables

The theme of the link-up for August is Water – River, Stream, Pond. I decided to share one of the books that we used for our study of local ponds. This compact book is a terrific source of information for all ages. It’s detailed enough for an older student to use as a reference and it has colorful illustrations that will capture the interest of younger students.


Here’s the book I’m featuring: Pond Life – A Golden Guide

You can look for it at your public library or it’s available from Amazon (note that I’m an Amazon affiliate and there are affiliate links in this entry).

You can use this as a reference book or field guide during your pond study. Or, read a few pages a week over a longer period and learn about pond life in preparation for a future pond study. There are sections for plant life and animal life in this book, including birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals. In addition, there are simple illustrations for really small things you might collect in pond water, looking at them up close with a magnifying lens or microscope.

We have owned and read this book several times during our homeschool studies. I’ve kept it in our nature library even now as a quick way to learn more about things we see in our own pond/stream.

Pond notebook page with net

Nature Journal Page (shown above) Printable Link

 “Almost any of the fishes found in a brook or pond may be kept in an aquarium for a few days of observation in the schoolroom. A large water pail or a bucket does very well if there is no glass aquarium. ”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 145

august nature book club graphic

Seasonal Pond Study with Printables


Use this notebook page to record your pond study observations and then revisit your pond in each season to compare plants, insects, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
Printable Seasonal Pond Study Notebook Page


Pond Study and Pond Grid 

As a bonus, I’m including the Summer Pond Study notebook page and the Pond Study Grid from the August 2011 Newsletter!

Pond Nature Journal

Additional Links

Here’s another idea for the field: Guide to Pond Dipping(YouTube video). I also found this excellent resource for identifying things you find when you scoop your pond water: Simple Guide to Small and Microscopic Pond Life.


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Make sure to subscribe to my blog to follow along with our weekly nature study activities.

Note: This post is part of a monthly series of posts I’m writing as part of a fantastic group of nature loving women who I’m linking up with on the 20th of each month. There’s a topic of the month and we’ll all share a book and activity that goes along with that theme.  Use the linky tool below to share your own nature walk related links this month too.

Check out these other links for more nature walk ideas from Nature Book Club Co-Hosts!

Sensory Bin and Observation Notebooking Page from Jenny at Faith & Good Works
Pond Life Printable Pack from Emily at Table Life Blog
Aquatic Science Studies: 10 Activities for Teens from Eva at Eva Varga
Above and Below a Pond Unit Study and Lapbook from Tina at Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
Online Book Study about water cycle from Dachelle at Hide the Chocolate
STEAM Challenge – Does Water Ever Flow Up? from Erika at The Playful Scholar
Who Was?® What Was?® Where Is?® Book Series: Where is the Mississippi River? from Sharla at Minnesota Country Girl


Past Month’s Themes:

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Summer Brook Study


Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Brook Study @handbookofnaturestudy

 Summer Brook Study – From the Archives

Brook Study

For Members: This challenge is found in the Autumn 2015 Nature Study ebook.

We last visited our brooks back in December and I always like to do a comparison study in a different study. Even if you didn’t complete the brook challenge back in the winter, get started with your own brook nature study now during the summer. We always find something interesting along the water’s edge and if you can take a container to dip and fill with water, I am sure you are going to find even more to be excited about. Use the ideas in the archive challenge to get started.

Make sure to look for things like tracks in the mud, insects hiding under gravel or rocks, and insects (like the caddisfly or the water strider).

For Members:

Brook and Stream Mini Grid Study

Look in the Ultimate and Journey level printables for this Brook and Stream Nature Study printable.

Plus members can download and use the February 2016 Rocks and Creeks newsletter for additional ideas to use with this challenge.

Ultimate Naturalist Library June 2016 @handbookofnaturestudy

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Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter- February 2016 Rocks and Creeks

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter February 2016 button

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter

February 2016 – Creeks and Rocks


Please read the following explanation outlining how to get this month’s newsletter.

The newsletter link is not in this email but will come separately. There may be a delay in your receiving the email so please don’t email me until the second day of the month if you haven’t received the link on the first. For some reason, some email providers take longer to receive the newsletter email.

If you don’t receive the separate email with the download link, you probably aren’t subscribed to the blog yet. This will take less than a minute to do if you follow the steps below.

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If you need to subscribe:

  • You will need to go to the Handbook of Nature Study, look to the top right corner for the box to type in your preferred email address, and then confirm the email that comes to your email inbox.
  • Once you subscribe, you will receive a thank you email from me with the download link.

This month’s newsletter link will be available only during the month of February so be sure to download it before 2/29/16.

Remember! All of the archived and current newsletters are available as part of the Ultimate Naturalist Library…every level!

Contents of this edition of the newsletter include:

  • Rock and creek nature study ideas, including nature journal prompts and an article from me on a four seasons creek study.
  • Contributions from Outdoor Hour Challenge participants Shirley Ann Vels and Paige Hudson.
  • February Nature Study Planning Page with field trip ideas, nature photo ideas, and a special 15 minute challenge for parents.
  • Creek Study printable notebook page which can be used as a nature journal topper as well.

Resources for your Nature Library: I have started to build a nature library store on Amazon that will feature by category my favorite nature study books and resources. Take a look and see if there is anything you would like to put on your wish list for your family’s nature study library: Handbook of Nature Study Nature Library Suggestions on Note this is my affiliate store to items I personally recommend and have read or seen in person.

Outdoor Hour Challenge February 2016 Printables for Members @handbookofnaturestudy

Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section.


Getting Started FAQ Button
Need help getting started with your nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study? Check out the fresh “Getting Started” page here on the website!


Creek Study Nature Journal Topper

Don’t forget that the last page in the newsletter is a printable nature journal page or you can use it as a nature journal topper by cutting the journal prompt out and adhering it right in your own nature journal. You can see my page above. I decided to use a spatter paint background and then taped the prompt to the top of my page. Now all I have to do is make my observations and record then in a list using a pen.

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Not Quite Sand Nature Study – Creek Gravel and Rocks

Creek with poppies and sweet peas

We have not made it to the ocean yet this summer. We have big plans to go later this month but we had the opportunity to do some dirt, gravel, and sand gathering this past weekend up in the Sierra Nevada. We took a day trip to Grover Hot Springs State Park which is a complete blog entry all on its own. I will save that for later in the week.

For this post I will share a little of our nature study using the Outdoor Hour Challenge for Sand and Soil from the Summer Sizzle ebook series. We used the creek running next to the picnic area to enjoy some rock, sand, and gravel observation time. This is an interesting geological area which we are planning on going back to explore some more.

July 2012 Grover Hot Spring
This was a creek that meanders a bit and we tried to find some animal prints but we had no luck. There wasn’t much sand on the banks but it was more like gravel or pebbles. There were little fish and lots of insect larvae in the small pools along the banks.
The creek was very shallow and perfect for sticking hot toes in while you explore the smooth rocks of varied colors.
We used an empty water bottle to collect a bit of “dirt” which is mostly decomposed granite gravel and a bit of the “soil”. My hubby found that doing this left his hands super dirty with a fine dusting of soil. He of course used this as an excuse to wash his hands in a waterfall.

I am going to wait until after our beach excursion to do the up close observation with the hand lens, having Mr. B compare the dirt we collected from the creek with the sand we collect from the ocean beach. I think this will make it a bit more interesting and give him something to record in his nature journal.

July 2012 Grover Hot Spring
Summer nature study is at its best when you can combine it with an outdoor family adventure. It becomes just an extension of what you do to make your time outdoors more enriching. We didn’t take nature journals or field guides this time but the atmosphere was one where we were always alert to find something interesting.

Like the rock in the photo above….just one of the many interesting rocks that we saw on the hiking part of our day. We also saw some wildflowers, a few butterflies, heard and observed quite a number of birds,  and ended up sitting in the natural hot springs. Yes, this was a great day….more soon!
Don’t forget the Summer Photo Challenge! Here are the details and here is the Pinterest Board.