It is that time of year again! Time to plan a few seasonal observations….and get outdoors with your family! I make it easy with the printable notebook pages that go along with these year long nature study ideas. Pick one and get started or take a few minutes to make the summer observations happen before we run out of summer.
You may wish to start a new year-long study this spring using some of the ideas above. If you have a continuing year-long nature study project, don’t forget to put it on your calendar or you may forget to make your autumn observations.
Summer time brings a more relaxed rhythm to most of our family life. That doesn’t mean we can’t still be including some outdoor nature study time with our children. It can be as simple as taking a walk and asking them to look for three interesting things or to take a picnic lunch outside to eat under your backyard tree. Weaving in some family time outside together is a valuable part of any summer bucket list and it takes just a little effort on our part.
Here are some fun First Day of Summer nature study ideas for you to keep in mind for next week. Be sure to mark your calendar!
Summer starts on June 21, 2014!
1. Camp out in your backyard: Since the first day of summer lands on a Saturday this year, plan a sleep out in your own backyard. Spend some of your evening gazing at stars, listening to insects, or take a flashlight walk.
2. First Day of Summer Flower Field Trip: Take a trip to your local garden nursery and let you child pick a plant to add to your backyard garden or patio container garden. After you plant your flower, sketch it into your nature journal along with the name of the flower and the date you planted it. You can combine this activity with this Garden Flower Nursery Field Trip ideas and printable.
3. Twilight at the Zoo: Many zoos have an evening option during this time of year. Check their calendar of events to see if your zoo has a special event for the first day of summer.
For other first day of summer activities from the archives, see this entry: First Day of Summer 2012.This entry has several easy ideas along with printable pages for you to use with your family.
Share you First Day of Summer 2014 activities with the up-coming blog carnival!
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #5. Take the opportunity this week/month to start a running list of trees in your local area. Keep a list in your nature journal or use the notebooking page in the ebook to get started with this long-term project (in the back of the ebook).
You are welcome to submit any of you blog Outdoor Hour Challenge blog entries to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. Entries for the current month are due on 6/29/14.
Please note this entry includes Amazon affiliate links.
Outdoor Hour Challenge:
This week spend your outdoor time enjoying the daily weather. Keep track of your weather for a week, recording the temperature, rainfall, etc. You can use any of the free printables on my Freebies Page. Look there for the seasonal weather pages and the weather chart.
You can also use any of the Seasonal Weather Challenges from the past that are appropriate for your time of the year:
Printable Notebook Page: During your seasonal weather observations, take a photo of something that shows your current weather conditions. Better yet, let your children take the images and then print them out for a personalized nature journal entry. This can be done in each season and recorded in your nature journal’s seasonal section.
Printable Notebook Page:My Seasonal Weather. Getting Started Suggestion: If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #10.I realize that this is a cold time of year (or hot for you Southern Hemisphere folks) for many of you but there are ways to make a “picnic” happen even if you just drive in the car, park under a tree, and enjoy some sandwiches and hot cocoa. Get creative! If you have a picnic, make sure to take a photo to include in your nature journal. I will challenge myself to taking a picnic in the next few weeks with my family and I will post our experiences here on the blog.
Outdoor Hour Challenge:
This week’s challenge kicks off our weather study for the month. Keep your outdoor time very casual and open-ended by just taking a short walk together, noting your weather conditions. You can combine this week’s challenge with aseasonal tree study (printables available)or you can find something for your winter nature table. You will find nature table ideas in the December 2012 newsletter.
The most important aspect of this week’s challenge is to get outside! Fifteen minutes is not too long for anyone…no matter the conditions. Dress appropriately, have a positive attitude, and watch the magic happen.
Printable Notebook Page The Four Seasons-In My World:This week the Outdoor Hour Challenge extra activity is another printable for you to use as part of your weather study. Use this page to record the exact dates of each of your seasons, depending on which hemisphere you live in. Discuss with your children how each of the seasons is a little different and have them draw a scene from their favorite season for their nature journal.
Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, turn to Outdoor Hour Challenge #1. Use the ideas there for an open-ended time outdoors this week following your child’s lead. Casually mention the weather and you can discuss the seasons after you come back indoors. Complete the accompanying notebook page if your child has interest.
I captured this image of the clouds at sunset last night coming in off the lake. Gorgeous!
Summer in our part of Northern California is HOT and DRY!
But, occasionally we get the weather phenomenon called “monsoon moisture” which really means that the storms come from the Gulf of California and are tropical in nature, reaching up into the mountains of Northern California with moisture and thunderstorms. (That is my very non-technical explanation of monsoon moisture.) We are going to be using this topic as the advanced study portion of the Summer Weather Challenge.
Monsoon Moisture in the eastern Sierra Nevada at Mono Lake 2006
When this happens, we see quite an interesting buffet of weather activity:
1. Scattered afternoon thunderstorms
2. Down pours of rain
3. Gusty high winds
4. Beautiful clouds (especially at sunset)
5. Increased fire danger because of the chance of dry lightning (no rain)
After an monsoon weather event, the air is sticky with warm moist air. The plants and trees are refreshed, the dry leaves swept away, and the air just smells so nice and fresh.
Monsoon Moisture – Bodie State Park, Eastern Sierra Nevada 2006. We got very wet in the rainstorm that came shortly after taking this photo!
We had such an even last night which will give us an account to share as part of theSummer Weather Challenge in the More Nature Study series. It was really hot at bedtime so we decided to sleep out on the back deck under the stars. It started off fairly innocently with a few wisps of clouds slowly moving across the sky blocking out the stars. Then the wind started to gust and the first flashes of lightning came quickly one after the other. The rumble of the thunder was in the distance. No problem my husband said…he thought it was just going to be a dry lightning event where there is no rain associated with the storm.
Boy, was he wrong!
By 11 PM the lightning, thunder, wind, and rain hit with full force. The wind chimes were ringing constantly and we decided we better give up the idea of sleeping outside. This kind of weather is fairly normal for our area in the summer and we have a couple of these storms usually in July or August. What turned this into an unusual event was the length of the storm. We still were having lightning, thunder, wind, and rain until at least 4 AM. It was a restless night for all of us as we kept getting up to peer out the windows and doors at the awesome display of power in this storm.
The garden still had plenty of beautiful flowers for a bouquet this morning.
The power went out for a short time but all in all there was little other inconvenience from the storm. Today the sun rose and warmed the air and made us all feel welcome. The windows were opened and the fans turned on to drive away the humidity a bit.
*Sight: Observe where the sun rises and sets on the horizon
*Smell: Does the air have a certain smell when it is hot?
*Touch: Can you feel the hot sun on your skin? Make sure to cover up or put on sunblock when you are outdoors in the afternoon to protect your skin from the sun’s strong rays.
*Hearing: Observe the sounds of weather: wind or breeze, rain, thunder.
Outdoor Hour Time:
There is so much to see outside during the summer. Birds, bees, butterflies, squirrels, and many other creatures are active during the daylight hours. There are plenty of trees, flowers, and summer views to be seen as well. Even though your weather may be hot, fit in some outdoor time for this challenge to observe what your summer world is like, paying attention to describing the season’s weather.
Ebook Users: There is a small scavenger hunt grid on your notebook page…have fun! Check the July 2012 Newsletter for another grid you can use as part of this challenge.
Advanced Study: Complete a nature journal recording your summer weather observations. Include temperature, cloud types, precipitation, humidity. Ebook Users: There is a custome summer weather observation notebook page for you to use with this challenge.
Advanced Study-Optional Activity: Design a summer weather related project to complete during the next few weeks. Ask a question or make a prediction about your local weather. Write up your experiment in your nature journal, recording your results or your data gathered. You can make it simple or complex depending on your interest. Ebook Users: There is a notebook page in the ebook for you to use to record your weather related project.
Additional Links With Ideas for a Weather Related Project:
Weather Wiz Kids—Read through some of the activities here to make up a question or to find an area that interests you.
All the summer challenges for 2012 are included in the new More Nature Study Book #4 Summer Sizzle ebook. The challenges in the ebook are the same challenges that will post every Friday here on my blog. If you want to follow along with notebook pages and coloring pages, click over and learn more about the ebook.
New Idea for 2012: First Day of Summer Photo Walk – take a camera outdoors and find some special First Day of Summer subjects, take a photo, print a few out, safely tuck them into your nature journal. You can combine this with the Summer Photo Challenge if you want and post your photo on the Pinterest board.