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 for teaching Earth science.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
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 in our homeschool day.
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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.
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 to help 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 birds 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 will be 10 years old this summer) 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, a hummingbird feeder, and birdhouses to attract birds.
You might even find birdhouses with a viewing window. Attach it to your window to 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.
I use foraging to teach various subjects while gathering greens and berries for canning, dehydrating, and preserving. We've even experimented with winter foraging.
Teach your child never to eat a plant they do not recognize and KNOW to be safe.
Teach them to use an app and book instead 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 in nature.
Observe how plants grow.
Learn to take responsibility for something.
Learn about the seed life cycle. And the importance of sunlight and water for growth.
If you have space, start a low-maintenance backyard garden.
For families without much space, grow herbs indoors, try DIY planters, or you could even make a small cinder block garden.
Build a weather station
Have your child use your weather station to track the weather in your own backyard. Then use this to compare 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.
Sarita, Thank you for sharing this on Traffic Jam Weekend! It has been chosen as a fave feature for this week's party that goes live on Thursday at 5:00 pm CST.
I love this. This is also perfect for keeping kids engaged during the summer break. This is my favorite pick for this week's #trafficjamweekend. Thanks for linking up!