Are you looking for fun ways to get your child interested in earth sciences? If so, try focusing on nature lessons for kids.
As a homesteading and homeschooling family, we spend a ton of time outdoors. And being aware of natural predators, foraging opportunities, as well as poisonous berries and mushrooms is an important skill for our girls to learn.
That's why nature lessons play an important role in our life homeschooling off the grid.
And it is simple. Nature is one of the most useful tools when it comes to teaching Earth science.
Sure, you can read books and watch videos to learn too. However, getting hands-on and experiencing everything from the feel of the soil to observing bugs in an insect hotel makes nature lessons feel up close and personal.
As a homeschooler, why not take advantage of your flexible homeschool routine?
You can take these opportunities to head outdoors and explore with your children no matter where you live.
Take advantage of this freedom to make the most of your time and use nature to spark your child's love of learning.
Here are some of our favorite ways to include nature as part of our homeschool day.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
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5 Ideas for Nature Lessons for Kids
Note: We homeschool off the grid in Canada's subarctic. And living in a boreal forest, our nature studies are literally right on our front doorstep.
However, we also studied nature when we lived in other areas.
In Burlington, Ontario, we went for walks every day down to the waterfront of Lake Ontario. We often explored the trails on the grounds of The Paletta Mansion, which include a rare Carolinian forest in Southern Ontario.
In northern Alberta, we lived in Fort McMurray. Luckily, our home there backed onto a beautiful forest with many hiking and skiing trails as well. So we had a chance to walk and observe deer, coyotes, squirrels, and other woodland animals.
In southwestern Manitoba, we enjoyed learning about the wildflowers, animals, and weather phenomena (hello, tornadoes) that we hadn't yet seen. We also started making bird feeders from recycled materials here.
My point is, that no matter where you live, nature lessons for kids are all around you.
Nature journals are one of the best tools that you can use for helping kids learn from nature.
Maybe they'll enjoy drawing the insects and plants they see on a hiking trip. Or perhaps they'll prefer writing poetry while sitting and listening to the bird's sing.
If your children are aged three or older a natural journal is a perfect place for them to track everything they have learned while spending time exploring and learning. Now that my children are older (our seventh child is almost eight) I'm getting into the nature journal fun myself!
Another simple idea is to use these fall leaves printables PDF pack and study ideas to turn your fall nature walk into a fun learning experience.
Bird watching in nature studies for kids
Bird watching is a fun activity for kids to learn out in nature.
And it's an easy way to include nature lessons for kids in your family outings. Going bird watching on your next family nature hike is a great way to get your kids to take a closer look at the trees above them.
At home in the backyard, you can add a bird feeder, hummingbird feeder, and birdhouses to attract birds to observe. You can even find birdhouses with a viewing window that you attach to your window so you can observe birds and their babies inside the nest.
Learn to forage
If you have the space to go hiking and exploring, get a copy of a foraging guide and go see what plants and herbs you can find in nature.
In fact, foraging with children can be an amazing experience for families to do together. I use foraging to teach a variety of subjects while gathering greens and berries for canning, dehydrating, and preserving.
Teach your child to never eat a plant that they do not 100% trust. Teach them to instead use an app and book to help identify plants and take samples the first time so you can do further research.
Start a garden
Gardening is another wonderful opportunity to sneak nature lessons for kids into your homeschool day. And it's also a wonderful activity for teaching your child an important self-reliance skill.
You'll find so many amazing activities to do in the garden together while enjoying time out in nature. Observing how plants grow. Learning to take responsibility for something. The seed life cycle. The importance of sunlight and water for growth.
Build a weather station
Have your child use your weather station to track the weather in your own backyard. Then use this to compare to the weather predictions the local news station released.
How often are they close to reality? Or do your local weather reports completely miss the mark?
Research how weather people use radar and other tools to help predict what will happen in the future. If during your studies you experience any weather extremes use this opportunity to explore these forms of weather ranging from tornadoes to hurricanes.
Create Your Own Nature Studies for Children
Use your imagination and your children's natural curiosity to introduce nature lessons for kids into your homeschool day.
Looking for more inspiration? You'll find it over on my Instagram account!
This post is part of the Homestead in Your Homeschool Series.