Showing posts with label Nature Study Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature Study Ideas. Show all posts

Friday, July 31, 2015

Nature/Art Idea: Crayon Rubbing build right into the table

So this is part II of the really neat art ideas I saw at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI.  This little ditty was a part of the children's area.  I have seen my share of crayon rubbing ideas-but this one takes the prize for being totally awesome.

They made a rough (but smooth-sanded) looking table for kids to sit around, then some crafty person(s) etched in all sorts of nature related items.  Like a leaf and a dandelion.  So cute and convenient.  The kids simply grab a piece of paper and sit down where they want to create a picture. There was also chair rail/thin book shelves around the corner for the kids to leave their art work for display.

For a home/daycare/school application-I should think this could be done on wood boards if etching a table isn't your thing.  This would be great for a Nature Center idea too.  I have been to many and have never seen this.

The best way I can figure out as to how they did this was to first create/build the table (they told me it was made in house-so I guess that is what she meant), then they obviously sanded and smoothed it before they etched in designs (thinking maybe with a wood burning tool) that was either free hand or traced.  Then it looked to be coated with clear a clear coat of stain-or two.

I had to share-this was just too good not to.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Nature Study Materials and Ideas Video

I posted a video on YouTube highlighting the main books and materials we use for our nature study. I wanted to be sure to link it for you. I have a few posts regarding nature study here on the blog too, but thought a video would be a fun way to see it. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Homeschool Room Tour 2015 Part 3:2 and 3:3 Whew-finally done with that area!

Well folks-after many, many retakes, stalls/stops and a kitty cat that just couldn't stop trying to be the star, I have uploaded the last two sections of the 3rd part of our tour.



and in case you missed the first one:

I have two other posts noting the geography wall and the basic pan around intro video too!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Supply Tote for Nature Study in the field

I was shocked that I didn't have a post highlighting the tote that we carry our nature study art supplies in.  Well, I may have had one but may have failed to transfer it before I closed down my Charlotte Mason blog.  So after filming that area of the classroom, I figured I best get an info/link post up on it.

Let it be said that I do not get paid by any of these companies (say for Amazon), altho I should.  I do have my Amazon Affiliate links for those items found there, and you can read more about that disclaimer at the bottom of the blog.

Nature Study Tote Box Supply List:

You can put whatever supplies you'd like in your tote-
this is just what we use the most.  


The price has gone up a bit since I bought these
 but they are worth the money-very sturdy!
And you can always re-purpose them later.
Otherwise, look for totes that have
a secure top/lid and are not flimsy.
USE your discount coupon!

Magnifying glasses/compass/etc.:

our Optic Wonder is by Navir but I see it is hard to come by now.
These companies make the exact same thing.


Small sliding magnifying glass from Dollar Tree

Art Supplies:

through Joann, Amazon and other art stores

General Pencils Drawing Kit 12 pc set 

Prang Watercolors 8 ct
Prang Watercolors 16 ct
or any school supply section of your local store

Assorted Paint Brushes-15 ct

Paint cup
I bought mine years and years ago from ??
But I know you can usually find them by
the paint palettes in the art section
of most supply stores.
Otherwise, a plastic cup or old food dish works too

Prismacolor pencils 12 ct
Prismacolor Verithin pencils 12 ct
USE YOUR JoAnns/Michaels COUPON to help save $$
if purchasing from there

3 pk white erasers (from Dollar Tree?)

Micellaneous Items:

pretty much any store
*smaller ones with a sharper point work nicely for
older kids so that they can snip specimens, etc.
Obviously, blunt points are best for younger kids

look at your local dollar stores for these
our plastic one came from one of those giant magnifying
glasses and/or a bug kit from the Dollar Tree

Pencil sharpener
check the school supply area and esp. the dollar store

Tree Identifying Cards
Cards by thesnailstrail on Scribd

Paper towel or other absorbent cloth

Small pack of baby wipes/Wet Wipes
great for cleaning off that sticky residue from plants
and or to clean their hands/paint off

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nature Study: Goldenrods

A fun late summer time nature study activity. 
*Be aware of insects that are attracted to these. 
I think I remember seeing lots and lots wasps around them. 
When we started our study [we were going to do this for our co-op group lesson but the day was cancelled so my kids and I did this activity alone], we did some research and read through the story the On One Flower by Anthony D. Fredericks [got thru the library]. It is geared for pre-K through about 3rd grade level but it has great artwork and is a good intro book, so it should it work for most situations. I actually didn't find too many stories relating directly to the Goldenrod-so this was the best I could do.  We then moved to the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.  We read pages 503-506 and did lesson 132 noted in this section.

Essentials:  Tool kit [they each have their own-I just took a pic with one] with all the goodies: magnifying glasses, paints, pencils, tweezers, erasers, and so on. It was early Oct. when we did this so the flowers were moving into the end of their season,so there were not many fresh and full flowering Goldenrod to collect.  But we only need two-so we were happy with that and put them into the flower press to have for their notebook page.

The kids' field study sheets. 

You can see the obvious difference between a 10 yr old and a 17 yr old's work.  I do not require the younger kids to get too detailed, unless they choose to do so.  They both still had to add the Latin names, and the boy needed to add a poem to his page when I took this picture but it gives you an idea of what you should aim for.  Once they had added some color to their flower and had done the other noted things, they went into their Nature Study binders.  I also brought along my camera to take some nice color pictures.  You could also just print a few pics and have your child glue those into their notebook page. This is a great option for children with low frustration thresholds or for those who are young/have dexterity issues.

Goldenrod in the field

look at that ugly bug!  

Nature study: Rocks and Gems

Please Note: I have updated this post that originally was posted on my Charlotte Mason blog.

A year back we used the Considering God's Creation program for my son's science. When we covered the Rocks and Gems section, I used the following books and resources to cover this unit.

So in true CM fashion, we set up an area for displaying our rock collection.  It was very easy to get a collection going [we live in a sub that was built on an old gravel pit so the rocks are literally everywhere] which was fun to display. The egg carton [I switched to the clear egg cartons so we could label them and still see what we had] served as a nice tote for the rocks which kept them organized and in one place.

 *all books are from the library, and you need a big variety due to there being so many rocks-the cross reference is necessary. Unless you have a geologist/petrologist in the family. The elephant carving was a gift  :) but that is soapstone, so it counts.
There are only a couple of these pages from the Considering God's Creation student workbook. I made copies [permissible as noted in the front of the guide] as I wanted the boy to do quite a few pages to document more of the rocks we found.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nature Study notebooking helps and examples

Providing a good nature study foundation for your student, is one of the most rewarding aspects of Charlotte Mason.

How to go about it:

You can start out simply enough by just focusing on reading books about a certain subject. That will provide a nice springboard to stir up some interest. Slowly add in an afternoon stroll around your yard, neighborhood, or a local park-of course this depends on the season.  Take note of the type of birds, trees, animals and plants you see.  Even if that is simply mental notes or a couple pictures.  Then when you get home, look up the finds (via the internet, books) and discuss them.

After a few times of this, it can easily grow into a more organized, detailed study.  Use the resources available to you. Remember, you do not need to reinvent the wheel to do this! There are plenty of creative and handy folks who have pulled together studies, books and all sorts of ideas to get you on your nature study path.

Now when those moments arise when you simply are befuddled about what something is or what it does, be sure to admit to your students.  You do not need to be a walking encyclopedia on all things nature like.  AND you don't have to be artistically inclined to do nature studies or the notebooking aspect. The true object to refine your observation skills, to truly see the Glory of our Heavenly Father. It is not about how well you can sketch.  If you feel you and your students need some art instruction, by all means-add it.  There are plenty of "how to" books available.  Try your library first, go through their collection and only purchase the ones that best fit your family.  It takes time, but the results are life changing.

Some examples of NS books

Copywork and art project from Spears Art Studio-High School Curriculum

Sketches by teen-still life and pine cone study/leaf study

The boy's sketches using Barb's
Nature Study with the Outdoor Hour Challenges pages

Additional Helps:

One can add many different forms to their 3-Ring Binder, using a variety of sources, notebook pages and ideas.  I find this method works great because a child can add, shift around projects as they build their collection,  and even categorize their works. I use the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock a lot.  Barb's studies tie directly into this book, and are easy to implement. I find quotes from the Bible various other sources.

Having a good supply of paper, colored/drawing pencils, erasers, crayons, watercolor paints, scissors (for snipping specimens), and any other medium you can use to sketch, or capture your NS moments is a great way to stay "ready".  We keep our goodies in plastic, snapped totes so we can take them with us while we travel, do specific studies, and so forth.  Don't forget tweezers, variety of magnifying glasses, bug catchers, and a butterfly net to help you corral your findings, so you can sketch them too.

Helpful Links:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Examples of notebooking using blank books

Here are some examples of our John James Audubon notebook we put together when we covered him. Obviously, you can substitute this for any artist, musician or person of interest. I simply created a cover for the blank book I had purchased for this very activity.  I believe I got these from Bear Books, but you can also find blank books at Miller Pads and Paper.

These images were found at Wikipedia 
Not sure if the one on the right was-cannot recall now

These pages were from an Audubon notebook/lapbook package. I am not sure where I found that either but when I come across that source, I will be sure to post it.

These pages were put into a larger blank book from Pear Educational Products (site currently needs to be fixed-it links to the wrong place). Since most of the pages were printed, we simply glued them down on the pages. Some children would enjoy coloring on the direct pages or adding stickers too.  With them being blank, it allows for so many options to truly personalize them.

**for specific J.J. Audubon ideas see my post on that here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Just updated the Not Back to School post on the classroom but here's the Reader's Digest version

Here is the newly set up nature study table/art picture study and focal book area.  I have wanted to do this for a long time and was able to get that accomplished today. The other side of the room-well not so much but will finish that this week. (UPDATE:  this has since been removed and our geography center now takes up this area)

I literally just did a treasure hunt about the house to find doo-dads and some display things to pull this together.  Robbed a few of my decorations in the kitchen and such and then added the Safari Ltd. toob birds (backyard and a couple from the exotic b/cuz we have hummingbirds and owls around us)...added the labels so he can start remembering them.  Will have my pop scour his yard for various bird feathers (he has like a sanctuary or something in his back yard-the birds and critters know where to go for food) and those will go in a flatter basket (need to purchase) so he can check those out when we are covering birds in science (which will be right off the bat). I can add/delete as necessary and change the items per season.

 The workboxes used to be under the rain gutter book holders,
 now it displays our current studies 
and future study items 
(cannot wait to start the Laura Ingalls stuff!!!!)
 A necessity is the Mrs. Sharp's Family Traditions book! 
[Left hand corner of table] LOVE IT!
And I taped up the picture study cards I had
from when we first covered Audubon.  We'll
cover him again this year but will spend more time on 
his animal drawings for that.
 This little wood armoire is my dd's. She used it when she 
played with her American Girl Dolls-LOL
  Was just sitting in storage so had to use it.
My goal is to get a nice apothecary cabinet or 
discover chest cabinet to keep all the little fun nature things
in.  Maybe next year's budget will allow for it but for now-
just using what we have around here. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rose Dissection

So my precious husband gave me a lovely red rose for Valentine's Day.  But alas, it is now crumbling and so-being the clever homeschooler I try to aspire to be (but fail to be actually, a lot of the time), we are going to dissect it today.  Yes-my rose will have served two purposes. One as a token of love and affection-the other as a great botany specimen.  So the table has been set with the goodies needed to disassemble it so the boy can see the parts of the plant we have been learning about for the last several weeks.  Since it is winter here, finding plant life to investigate has been a challenge. Thanks to Valentine's Day-we're going to have a real live, up close and personal view of a flower and its seed boxes, stamen, pistols, dust bags, etc.
Of course, the boy will be drawing what he finds in his plant book we have created for this study.

Using the ebook: Plant Life in Field and Garden by Arabella Buckley (thru the Yesterday's Classics collection which I reviewed a few years back-you can read about that program here), we have discovered a lot of interesting facts and along with the study notes provided in the Heart of Dakota program for the Creation to Christ program, this is shaping up to be a fun study.

Hey, if you are interested in the Yesterday's Classics, they have a sale going on until February 28, 2013 at half off! That is an awesome price for all those books!  I use it all the time-and I don't have an eReader, but just have uploaded the free Kindle PC app to my computer.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Outdoor Hour Challenge -Queen's Anne Lace

Today was a beautiful day-picture perfect. I couldn't resist the call to nature-so I printed off the notebook page on the Queen Anne's Lace study, grabbed Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study, the kids' nature supply totes and well-the kids.  We went to up the to the "hill prairie" (another section of our sub that has not been developed)...and found quite a abundance of the precious are some pics.....

We chose to use on pencils in our sketches this time.  Since this is a year long study, we have plenty of opportunities to use several other mediums...which will be fun to compare.  Unfortunately, it doesn't photograph well-I tried to darken them a bit so you could see.  

The boy's (he dictated and I wrote what he observed)

The teen's (she decided she would do more observation than drawing 
because once she starts-she gets very this is her quick sketch)

I did a bit of both.  The object here is not to sketch a perfect looking likeness, but to 
learn to observe, and take in the amazing handiwork of our Lord.  

You can find out all about this great The Outdoor Hour study on Barb's Handbook of Nature Study blog-which is an awesome place to visit!  

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nature Study with Teens

The Teens enbark on their Tweezer Trek, with plastic bags and tweezies in hand.

One explorer is mine, and the other is our newest student who joined us for the summer session.

Soooooo, this is what we did today, even though it was a blazing and humid one!

Sent the girls out to find anything they could-but the trick was: they had to be able to pick it up with only a pair of tweezers. Yes, so off we strolled to the field to pick nature related products. As you see, one found human nature in there too-hence the plastic plant container. Then they layed them out on paper to help with the drawing of them. The girls decided to color them in with colored pencils, but one could easily of used watercolors or chalks. Tomorrow they have the fun of looking up these finds and listing their Latin (if possible) names, common name and any other info they like to their pages. Then it will be nicely stored in a sheet protector for future viewing.

Tweeze Away fellow nature study friends.

More Nature Study help

When it comes to doing Nature study, you will need a decent library to aid in correctly identifying your specimens, but also books that help you figure out HOW TO DO IT. I just re-acquainted myself with a couple of beauties I had on my shelves for years. They give a good starting place for how to do Nature Studies; and give great ideas for including your teens in this awesome activity.
If you don't know of Cindy Rushton, you need to go to her sites and read all she has on Nature Study. She wrote a wonderful book called: Nature Study the Easy Way. This is comb-bound and has laminated covers. You can find this book ($25 new) and others at :
I am sure you can find one thru a resale site too. Check out the and look under the 7-12 for sale and perhaps the 4-6 one too. Or, Ebay or
The other little gem I own is called: The Nature Study Idea Book, Ideas for All Ages...Even Your High Schoolers! by Mary E. Woodis. You Can find more on her at : and it seems she is selling her book thru Queen's Homeschool at :
These sites offer a wonderful array of books that will build your library and build your confidence as well.
I have to say that the following list of books I own are a must have (depending on your budgets of course)....
*Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock
*A Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden (I own one because I am in love with it-for most, borrowing it from the library is sufficient enough-good ideas for how to do your nature study books)
*Mrs. Sharp's Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnachs (now this is a real beauty! I love it-written from the point of view of this "Mrs. Sharp" who is 100 plus years or so-she gives monthly ideas on how to entertain and teach the children. Has some great ideas for Nature Tables and such-OOP....which means you need to go thru Amazon or another site that has out of print books. I bought mine for $3 and it is like brand new!)
*Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris (good for adding poems to the pages)
Various other field guides that cover a wide variety of books for identifying specimens.

I see the Queen's Homeschool site has some great nature study related books. Look everywhere for books that can help build your library.
Don't forget your local library too! To save money-borrow books first from your library to see if it is something you really want/need; and then buy what you love. Never spend top dollar if you can get it cheaper thru sites that have them used.

Another great idea that Mary mentioned was a Nature Club. They meet once a month to explore an area and try to focus on a particular subject. They keep it simple (everyone supplies their own things: snacks/drink, art supplies, blankets and so forth) and then the moms sit and relax whilst the children explore their area. They then collect specimens, and draw/look up info on them to create their nature books.

Hope this helps spur a few of you on. It doesn't need to be complicated, or time consuming. Keep is simple, sweet and fun.