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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Weed Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Weed Nature Study

Winter weeds are a quick and easy nature study topic that you can complete in your yard or neighborhood, or at a local park or alongside a road (be watchful of traffic). Spend a few minutes this week to take notice of any weeds you may have, searching for seeds or signs of animals feeding nearby.

Beloved by homeschool families worldwide, this study focuses on the Handbook of Nature Study and winter weeds this week.

Easy And Engaging Homeschool Nature Study

You can use these links for some specific Winter Homeschool Nature Study ideas:

Beloved by homeschool families worldwide, this study focuses on the Handbook of Nature Study and winter weeds this week.

Getting Started With The Outdoor Hour Challenge In Your Homeschool Nature Study

Download your free copy of our Getting Started ebook and complete challenge #6. You may wish to make a list of weeds you observed in winter and then check the list during the summer to see if you can add some more entries.   

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership For Support All Year Long

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Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @outdoorhourchallenge and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge is from the Winter Wednesday Course and Curriculum.

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Autumn Weed Bouquet -Creating a Bouquet of Weeds, Flowers, and Grasses

Sitting on my desk is a small vase of flowers I collected a few weeks ago. Although they’re all dried up now, they are a fond reminder of an afternoon spent walking and collecting a few blooming things with my daughter.

weed bouquet wildflowers autumn outdoor hour challenge (2)

This inspires me to share an idea with you readers. Why not go out on a crisp autumn day and collect a few flowers, weeds, and grasses from your neighborhood to enjoy in a vase?

Creating a Weed Bouquet graphic

Here’s a link to a post in my archives that will give you some inspiration: Weed Bouquets and Autumn Time.

weed bouquet wildflowers autumn outdoor hour challenge (1)

Please feel free to use this idea as an alternate study to any of the autumn wildflower studies we have coming up (jewelweed and prickly lettuce).

Autumn Nature Study Ebooks graphic

Please check out all of the autumn themed ebooks available here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Click the graphic above to view all of the topics covered.


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New Member’s Printable-Autumn Weeds and Pond Study

Now available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships:

1. Autumn Weed Notebook Page: This notebook page is a complement to any autumn weed or wildflower nature study. During the month of October, we will be studying jewelweed and prickly lettuce. If you don’t have either of those plants to study in real life, you can use this notebook page along with any weed or wildflower you want to focus on. You can get some autumn weed nature study ideas here: Autumn Weed Study.

2. Pond Nature Study Set-18 pages of notebooking pages included: As part of your family’s autumn nature study, you can start a year long pond study. Use the notebook pages in this set to follow up your pond time with a few of the more common subjects you may encounter. Topics include: dragonfly, damselfly, ducks, freshwater clams, mayfly, nutria, reeds, smartweed, water boatman, water snails, water spiders, water strider, whirligig beetles, aquatic insects, aquatic plants, pond fish, pond mammals, and tracks in the mud.

If you would like some pond study ideas, you can click over to see this study from my archives: Pond Study. 

Autumn Study - Weeds Notebook Page


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

Printables for Members Button

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

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020

October 2020 nature planner page

Members also have access to the Nature Planner pages in their library.

Print out this month’s page and use it to stimulate your weekly nature study time.

These are Amazon affiliate links to two books I have purchased and used with my family’s pond study.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Garden Flowers #8 Seeds and Weeds


“Why do we call a plant a weed? Is a weed a weed wherever it grows? How did this weed plant itself where I find it growing? Of what advantage is this weed?”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 513

When Anna Botsford Comstock uses the term “weed”, she many times means what we would commonly call a “wildflower”. If you look in the Table of Contents in the Handbook of Nature Study, you will see a long list of “weeds” that are subjects of complete lessons in this nature study volume.

Dandelions wildflower or weed

From my personal experience, I have this conversation every spring with my husband over whether a dandelion is a weed or a wildflower. He has given me the gift of dandelions in our yard, even though he really wants to weed them out. I love their happy color and have observed many an insect benefiting from our leaving a few dandelions at the edges of our yard. (Read about my “wild side” here: Wild Side #1
and Wild Side #2)

This week click over to read the original challenge from the Garden ebook and then pick a weed to observe, looking carefully for its seeds. This activity can be done periodically as the seeds develop during the summer season. Make it a weed and seed hunt!

Link to the Archive Outdoor Hour Challenge –

Focus on Garden Flowers #8 Seeds and Weeds


Gardens ebook Outdoor Hour challenge

We’re continuing to work through the Garden Flower and Plants ebook over the next few weeks. If you own this ebook or have access to it in your Ultimate Naturalist Library, you’ll want to get it out and read the first few pages that outline how the ten week series of garden challenges work together and can be done in any order that makes sense to your family. The ebook has planning pages as you choose, observe, and then learn more about each garden flower you study.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

If you would like to purchase a membership so you have all of the challenges at your fingertips and the custom notebooking pages too, click over to read all the details and download a sample: Garden Flower and Plant Challenges.


Handbook of Nature Study June 2013 Newsletter Cover

You may wish to look at the June 2013 Newsletter if you have a membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Handbook of Nature Study Nature Book Club Wildflowers

There’s a lot of great information on wildflowers in this post that I wrote last year. Click over to find helpful hints for your seeds and weeds study:

Wildflowers to Love.

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Autumn Weeds: Milkweed, Thistle, Teasel, Burdock, Queen Anne’s Lace


Autumn Weed Study Outdoor Hour ChallengeThis week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge allows you to pick from a list of the autumn weed studies already in the archives here on the Handbook of Nature Study. Pick one of the weeds and then mark your planner to revisit this weed in all four seasons to experience its full life cycle. Make sure to read the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study as noted below for specific weed observation suggestions.

Autumn Weeds – Handbook of Nature Study

Autumn Milkweed – Lesson 148

Autumn Thistle – Lesson 141

Autumn Teasel – Lesson 147

Autumn Burdock – Lesson 142

Autumn Queen Anne’s Lace – Lesson 128

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


Additional Links

Queen Anne’s Lace Autumn Study: Here is a link to one of our autumn weed studies.

Autumn Nature Journal Examples: Take a look at some of my autumn nature journal pages, including an autumn thistle page.



queen annes lace autumn



Autumn Nature Study Ebooks graphic 

If you’re a member of the Ultimate Naturalist Library, you have access to the following ebooks with notebooking pages for each of the autumn weed studies listed below.

Autumn Milkweed – More Nature Study Autumn

Autumn Thistle – More Nature Study Autumn

Autumn Teasel – Autumn Nature Study Continues

Autumn Burdock – Autumn Nature Study Continues

Autumn Queen Anne’s Lace – Autumn 2010

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.

Benefits by Level Updated size 500

If you want to become a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study, you can click the Join Us button for more details. Benefits include those shown above including access to ebooks, notebooking pages, archived newsletters, and new ebooks and printables published during your membership.


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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Wonderful Winter Weeds

Winter weed nature journal

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Wonderful Winter Weeds

From the Archives and the Winter Wednesday ebook

We’re in the winter weed season here in Central Oregon. We walk pretty much every day to the river behind our house and the weeds are all in various stages of decline. Some are flat to the ground from the rain and snow but there are surprisingly quite a few “weeds” or grasses still upright. I even noticed some still have their seeds clinging on even in the wintry weather.

Take a walk in your neighborhood and use the link to the archive challenge above for lots of specific ideas for a winter weed study this week with your family. Enjoy a few minutes outside and then create a nature journal of your experiences.


If you’re interested in seeing how our family completed this challenge, here’s a blog entry from the archives: Winter Weeds-More Lovely Than I Imagined and Winter Weeds-Our Continuing Story.

If you have access to the Winter Wednesday ebook in the Ultimate Naturalist Library, there’s a custom notebook page available to use as a follow-up to your nature study.


Join us for the Winter Wednesday series of challenges here every FRIDAY. You can find them under the winter tab on the blog or if you have an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, you can find the ebook there for downloading.

For the month of February, I’m offering a $5 off coupon for every level of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. Take a look at all of the benefits of having a membership!

Discount Code: $5 off any membership on the Handbook of Nature Study by using the code FEB5 during the month of February 2018.


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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Queen Anne’s Lace


Autumn Queen Anne's Lace


Outdoor Hour Challenge

Autumn Queen Anne’s Lace Observations

Seasonal Weed Study Option

From the Archives and from the Autumn 2010 ebook

With the change of the season, it’s time to make your autumn observations for Queen Anne’s Lace. Whether you’re just starting a year-long study of this pretty wildflower or you’re continuing from the summer season, you will find the suggestions in this challenge a great help in learning about this common wildflower. (Some call it a weed, but I prefer to think of it as a wildflower!)

If you don’t have any Queen Anne’s Lace to observe in person, choose two other neighborhood weeds to study and compare using the ideas in the challenge linked above.


If you own the ebook, there are two different notebooking pages for you to use for your nature journal entry.

weed bouquet

I recently used one of the challenge ideas and collected a number of autumn weeds and seeds for a “weed bouquet”. This might be a wonderful idea for an autumn nature walk that combines observing weeds and seeds and then culminates in a lovely bouquet for your nature table. You can see my entry here: Weed Bouquets and Autumn Time.


Autumn 2010 Outdoor Hour Challenge

If you would like to own this ebook, it’s part of the Ultimate Naturalist Library for members. You can find more details on how to get your own membership here: Join Us!


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Weed Bouquets and Autumn Time

My Autumn Weed Bouquet



Our neighborhood is mostly evergreens with a few deciduous trees mixed in. The view from my back window is over a slope leading down to the river and it has very few trees and lots of shrubs and grasses. The grasses are what most people would call “weeds” and in between those grasses there are a few wildflowers like yarrow and asters. The river is lined with willows, the shrubby kind and not the trees. For what it’s worth, I find the view from any of my windows beautiful and refreshing.



As the winter snows have already started, I’m seeing fewer and fewer short plants as they get buried and mashed down by the snow and ice. There are still a few plants surviving so I took the opportunity a week or so ago to cut some of the autumn weeds for a bouquet to have indoors. It was pretty late for gathering much but I still managed to create a bouquet that makes me happy. Once again, it is a matter of perspective in determining whether a plant is a weed or something amazing to look at as part of an autumn bundle in a vase.

Weed bouquet
My winter weed bouquet from years past.

My husband and I debate about the definition of a weed, an on-going discussion in our family. I say a weed is something growing where you don’t want it to grow, like in a flower or vegetable garden or in the middle of your manicured lawn. But, if the plant is growing, like most of those in our yard, in a natural landscape, I try to leave it as part of the habitat.

In my eyes, my autumn weed bouquet is as pretty as any flower shop bunch of roses.

Invite your children to gather some of your autumn weeds to be indoors as part of your nature display.

Other Entries of Interest and Inspiration

Poetry in Your Nature Journal

Winter Weed Gallery – from my archives, showing lots of winter weeds


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Weeds, Seeds, and Myrmecochory

Harvester Ants Myrmecochory
Photo credit: Bob Forester

Myrmecochory -Here’s a link to learn more!

In a nutshell, it means seed dispersal by ants.

Ants harvesting seeds
Photo Credit: gailhampshire

I came across the interesting term while doing some research on seed dispersal. It always amazes me to learn about things going on right under my nose that I never noticed.

You can do your own research and use the printable in the member’s library to record your interesting facts.

Myrmecochory Notebook Page

Are you familiar with the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership? If not, you can read about it on this page: Membership Information.

The Ultimate and Journey level memberships include access to the growing list of printable notebooking pages and activities. I add new things each month!

Printables for Members Button

Click above to see a current list of printables available in addition to the 20 ebooks already included in the Ultimate Membership.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Cocklebur Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge cocklebur @handbookofnaturestudyOutdoor Hour Challenge

Cocklebur Study from the Wildflower Set #2 Ebook (available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships)

Inside Preparation:

The rough cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium L.) is a widely dispersed plant in North America. See the range map here at USDA Plants.

Outdoor Hour Time:

Look for cocklebur to be growing in open, often moist, disturbed areas with poorly drained soil. They need full or partial sun. The flowers bloom from July to October.

  • Ebook users can use the suggestions in the challenge to observe carefully your cocklebur. Others can make careful observations of the stem, leaf, flower (if any), and seeds.

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Create a nature journal page for the cocklebur using the notebook page provided in the ebook if desired or in your own personal nature journal.  There is also a coloring page for the cocklebur in the ebook.
  • Start or continue a notebook page for the aster family of plants, listing any flowers in the aster family you observe.


OHC Wildflower Set 2 @handbookofnaturestudy

How do you get the Wildflower Nature Study Set #2 ebook?

Members of the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey levels have access to the new ebook in their library. You need to click the “Members Area” button at the top of the website, sign into your account, and the ebook is there to download and save for your family to use when desired. If you don’t have a membership yet, I am offering a $5 off discount code that will be good towards your Ultimate Naturalist membership.

Discount Code: Wildflower5


Wildflowers, Weeds, & Garden Flowers Notebooking Pages

If you are looking for a variety of wildflower, weed, and garden flower notebooking pages to use in your nature journal, I highly recommend this set from I have used them with my own family in the past and love them. Please note I am an affiliate for and I will receive a small commission if you eventually purchase any of their products after clicking the link above.