Have you started doing nature studies in your homeschool yet? If you haven’t, you are seriously missing out and you should totally start them this year and this post will help you come up with 4 fun things that you can add to your nature studies!
Today I’m not going to dive into the how and what of doing Nature Studies for a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschool, but instead, I wanted to give you 4 things that you can add to your nature studies to take them a step further!
4 Epic Things To Add To Your Nature Studies This Year
1. Animal Tracks Printable
When out doing a nature study somewhere more rural, don’t go a step further without taking a nifty printout of animal paw prints like this one: GET THE PRINTOUT HERE AT THIS SITE
Bring your magnifying glass and also a camera to snap photos of animal tracks that may not be on the list, so you can look it up at home.
2. Plant, weed & herb identification
Instead of carrying along a large field guidebook with you, you can download a hand plant/weed/herb identification app for you and your children to use.
You can use a handy app like: this one right here, LeafSnap, or NatureID.
Have your children do some plant identification to identify what it is.
Charlotte Mason was big on children knowing the plants native to their area, and I cannot agree more! It is super beneficial for children (and adults!) to know what’s edible, poisonous, good for medicinal purposes, etc.
If the plant you find is edible- You can come up with a recipe to use your edible plant in and then cook it together.
If the plant is poisonous- It is super important for your children to learn to identify poisonous plants and berries. Explain the dangers, what can happen (sickness, rashes, etc.) that can happen if said plant is ingested or touched.
If it’s medicinal- Take your nature study a step further by researching what its properties are, and then make a tincture or salve with it. Plantain is a super common weed and makes a great poultice or addition to a drawing salve. In an emergency, you can chew up a leaf, spit it out, and put it directly on a bug bite.
Any time spit is involved, kids (especially, boys) LOVE IT!! ??♀️
3. Collect leaves
Bring a ziplock bag to save their favorites.
After you get home, (and after a nap of course), do a leaf rubbing craft, do watercolor sketches of the leaves or make another leaf craft.
You can also talk about the anatomy of the leaf:
What do the lines mean?
Is there a difference between the little lines and the big one that runs up the center?
Why do trees need leaves?
4. Pine Cone Crafts
If you are lucky enough to live in a place with pine cones, crafts abound!! Again, bring a ziplock baggy with you to collect some pinecones.
You could choose to do a pinecone craft from this site here,or you could do the classic pinecone bird feeder and hang it close to a nearby window where you can do some birding (bird watching) for some even more nature study/science exploration!
how to make a Pinecone Bird Feeder:
- Roll a pinecone in nut butter (if nut allergies are present, roll the pinecone in a fat such as cooled bacon grease or coconut oil).
- Next, roll the greased or nut buttered-up pinecone in some bird seed.
- Hang a string on it and place it outside!
I hope that gives you some inspiration to add some fun extras to your nature studies this homeschool year!
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