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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

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Autumn Horse Study Hour Challenge

Horse Study (compare to a dog)

From the Archives and the Autumn 2010 ebook

Horses are a favorite topic of study for many children. Can you arrange to visit a stable to observe a horse up close? Perhaps there is a horse at a nearby farm stand or apple orchard that you are visiting this season. Be on the lookout for a horse to see in person.

Even if you complete this as a preparation for a future horse visit, you will learn a lot from the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study.
Autumn 2010 Outdoor Hour Challenge

We are currently working through the Autumn 2010 ebook. For a complete nature study schedule for the next year, please click over and read this entry: Plans for October 2017 through August 2018.

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Dog Study: Outdoor Hour Challenge-Mammals

Outdoor Hour Challenge #51 took us some time to complete for some reason. The boys didn’t think that they needed to learn much about our dog but after we got going, we really enjoyed some of the ideas that Anna Botsford Comstock suggested in the accompanying lesson.

We watched the PBS video on wolves in Yellowstone and we were so interested to see how the circle of life goes round and round even within one national park. I think someone else mentioned that they had a hard time knowing which side to be on when you saw a skirmish. I totally agree with that… with the wolves, the elk, and the coyotes. Each one had its family and its physical needs and without eating each other, none would survive. It gave us lots to think about.

Now to our crazy dog study….my boys were so funny working through the lesson on dogs in the Handbook of Nature Study. I couldn’t believe how much they could answer without even getting up and looking at the dog or the cat. The comparison between the two in the lesson ideas worked out great because it made us stop and really think about the differences between canines and felines.

Sleeping dogs are great to take photos of since they don’t move around. She really doesn’t like us to take photos of her very much and trying to get photos of her body parts was impossible. I felt like we needed to wrestle her to the ground but my son decided that having a little “scooby snack” in his hand did the trick.

I think I shared this photo before but this is a priceless photo of our dog showing her teeth. I don’t remember exactly what we were doing that made her give us a “smile” but it makes me laugh every time I see this picture.

Her ears are also very expressive in real life and we can tell if she is listening by the way she has them positioned. Sometimes when she runs her ears turn inside out and it looks so cute.

Even though we didn’t have much success getting photos, we did have a great time examining the things that the Handbook of Nature Study suggested we look at during a good dog study. Kona uses her nose to sniff just about everything when we go for our walk and we have even named one spot on the trail “Smelly Rocks” because she can’t bear to pass by without giving them a good sniff. There is also one particular bush alongside the path that gets her interest every time as well. This photo is sort of a “all the better to smell you with” kind of photo…..her nose looks really long and her nostrils very large.

If you haven’t completed this particular Outdoor Hour Challenge yet, I encourage you to do so with your own dog. You will learn a lot!

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #51 Mammals-Wolf, Fox, and Dog

Outdoor Hour Challenge #51
Mammals: Wolf, Fox, and Dog

You are in for a treat with this challenge with an episode from PBS Nature to watch if you choose to do so. I am strongly recommending that you preview this episode. I tried to note what might be objectionable in each part. Even with all these warnings, I truly think this is an amazing episode. There is so much about winter in Yellowstone and so many mammals in their natural setting. The photography of Yellowstone in this episode is fantastic and it made me want to plan a trip to this beautiful spot in the near future.

PBS Nature In the Valley of the Wolves (Set In Yellowstone National Park)

  • Part one shows the wolves hunting and then killing an elk-tastefully done but still it might be upsetting to sensitive children. Includes a red fox and coyotes as well. Shows a coyote eating a vole.
  • Part two is all about breeding season so you will want to preview for appropriateness for your family. There is also a dead elk scene where the coyotes and an eagle are eating.
  • Part three has two wolf packs fighting. Dead elk being eaten in this part as well. Wolves chase and eat the coyote….it made me cry. River otters and eagles. Red fox and a coyote are shown hunting and then eating some sort of rodents. Bison being eaten by the wolves and birds.
  • Part four has a grizzly bear and cubs. Another elk being hunted and killed by wolves and eaten by the grizzly.Lots of baby animal stories in this part.
  • Part five opens up with coyotes eating an elk, blood. Very sad end to the wolf pups…made me tear up. Magnificent elk shots.

1. Read pages 250-260 of the Handbook of Nature Study about the wolf, the fox, and the dog. Studying the dog will help your child get a better understanding of the wolf and the fox. Not many of us will ever study a fox or a wolf up close but we can study the dog with great ease. After reading these pages in the Handbook, have a few ideas to share with your children. Use the dog as your point of comparison when talking about fur, teeth, and paws.

2. This week’s challenge includes two opportunities for observation:
*Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. If you have snow or mud, look for animal tracks. Use this time to discuss why mammals, especially the wolf, fox, and dog have fur or hair. Look for any signs of animals as you walk around your own yard or down your own street. Ask your children where they think they might see a mammal. Don’t forget that you can also observe other mammals such as cats and squirrels if you have the opportunity. A dog’s tracks are easily recognizable and once you know what to look for, you will start to see them everywhere.

*If you have a pet dog, use the activities on pages 258-260 to learn more about your own dog. Many of the activities assume you have access to a cat to compare to the dog but you can skip to number 6 if you do not have a cat to study alongside the dog.

3. Supplemental reading: The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Story 27 and 28. Use the illustrations on pages 164, 170, and 177 to prompt some simple narrations from your child about the wolf, the fox, and the dog.

4. For your nature journal you can sketch the parts of the dog that you studied during your observation time. The teeth, the ears, and the paws make great subjects for the nature journal. If you did not study a dog, you can complete a notebook page for any or all of the challenges subjects: the wolf, the fox, or the dog. See the additional resources below for information and photos. Another suggestion is to make several entries for different breeds of dogs that you know or are interested in learning about for this challenge.

Additional resources for this challenge: