As homeschoolers living in a remote part of northern Canada, I'm always looking for ways to combine outdoor life skills with learning. That's why I was thrilled to receive our Think Outside Boxes nature box. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to partner with Think Outside Boxes, a monthly subscription box to encourage kids and families to spend more time together outdoors.
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Each month we get a box full of gear and an activity guide. While the girls love the gadgets, as a homeschooling mom I really appreciate the activity guide. In this month's Think Outside Boxes Nature Box, the activity guide includes a huge array of hands-on and study ideas on the theme of Nature. So I created a resource list to incorporate them all into our year-round schooling.
We're going to use our list to plan outdoor activities, hands-on work, and unit studies to enhance our regular curriculum. We're also going to work through the Think Outside Boxes lesson plan developed for homeschool families.
Looking for the Think Outside Boxes coupon code to save $10.00 on any subscription? It's THINK10.
15 Ways to use the Think Outside Boxes Nature Box to Homeschool
Note: Although the Think Outside Boxes subscription box service is advertised for kids ages 7+, our 6-year-old (five when we started with it) loves it too.
#1. Studying Ecosystems
Learning about ecosystems gives kids of all ages a "big-picture" view of science. By adding in an Ecosystem unit study we can get an overview of each system. And if the girls are interested, we'll spend some time on a Tundra Habitat study.
#2. Learning About Trees
This month's Think Outside Boxes Nature Box includes four pages on trees, including a Tree Identification Chart and an activity sheet on the benefits of trees. We can then use a regional guide to complete these activities.
#3. Allergens Outdoors: What to Watch Out For on Nature Walks
Knowing what to stay away from when you get outside is an important lesson for kids and adults alike. We'll learn how to identify Poison Ivy, Stinging Nettle, and Poison Oak plus the trees, grasses, and weeds that can cause allergy flareups.
Get your kids to record their adventures on nature walks with this free Hiking Journal!
#4. Seeing How Nature Provides
We've been talking about this a lot as we finished up our brand new Foraging & Wildcrafting Bundle earlier this season. (You'll find it in the shop...but if you sign up to grab the hiking journal you'll get a special deal on it!) In August we'll be continuing three years of North American Studies using the Sonlight Core D and E curriculum. (I'm adding my own Canadian studies to this.) So now's the perfect time to learn about how native peoples use natural materials for medicines and food.
Homeschool Supplies Storage Tip: Before we had a homeschool room, we stored our Think Outside Boxes on bookshelves in our dining room. Learn more about homeschool organization without a homeschool room here.
#5. Finding Wildcrafting Opportunities
Anything to do with arts, crafts, and creative activities always catch the girls' attention. We'll use the suggestions in the Think Outside Boxes Nature Box (grass bracelets and leaf shoes) as a jumping-off point and continue on with more nature arts and crafts projects. Recently I was foraging with the kids for rose petals to make rose petal bath salts. Around here, wildcrafting is a favorite activity!
#6. Studying Rotten Logs - Composting!
The feature on rotten logs in this month's box fits perfectly with our recent focus on composting with kids. We'll read up on rotten logs, carry out the four suggested activities, then make a few sketches in our Nature Journals too.
#7. To Learn About Pollinators & Bee Safety
The alarming decline in the world's bee population means it's more important than ever for the next generation to understand the importance of pollinators and bees. In addition to discussing the points in the activity guide, we're working on a Wildflower Garden list. It includes plants that are great for bees. And we'll pick and choose a few more ideas from this All About Bees Unit Study page.
#8. Discovering Endangered Species
The Think Outside Boxes Nature Box activity guide also includes a two-page spread on endangered species. As we've already discussed what the phrase "endangered species" means at length, we'll focus on an individual project. The kids can choose an endangered species to research and report on.
#9. Learning to Treat Bites/Stings & Venom Removal
The Bite & Sting Kit in this month's Think Outside Box includes the learning resource cards we've come to know and love! We've reviewed these. The kids were particularly interested in the "Venom Suction Pump" for snake bites. I (almost) didn't have the heart to tell them that not only do we not have venomous snakes this far north, but we also don't have snakes period!
This section will include hands-on practice of how to deal with hornet, bee, and wasp-stings instead.
#10. What to Watch for With Ticks - Ugh
Ticks - another thing we rarely see in the north, although that's changing as ticks become more cold-resistant, according to a 2017 CBC News story. And the girls do remember seeing ticks when we lived in southern Manitoba and northern Ontario. The key thing we'll review here is how to remove them safely. Then we'll do some online research on Lyme disease.
#11. Using Tweezers for Kids
These tweezers would have been just as much fun in the First Aid Box as they are here! We're using these ones to teach a quick lesson on splinter-removal. Pretty much a daily occurrence at our house.
#12. Identifying Those Creepy-Crawlies
So not everyone loves bugs. Definitely not our two youngest kids. Yet living as we do, where we do, creepy-crawlies are a fact of life. I'm hoping that the magnifying glass and the ID Card that came with this month's box makes bugs more attractive to the girls. Yep, I'm an optimist.
#13. Exploring the Bavarian Forest in Germany
Each month's Activity Guide includes a Global Feature to highlight a different part of the world. This month's it's the Bavarian Forest, Germany's first national park. We're rounding out the info in the guide by finding it on a map, learning about the culture of the area, and watching a documentary on the animals of the forest.
#14. Connecting With Wildlife in Nature
All of our big kids were fascinated with animals and animal stories when they were young and our littles are no exception. We're using the Wildlife overview in the activity guide to discuss animal kingdom classification.
One of my favorite parts of each guide is the Empathy Feature, and this month it focuses on living harmoniously with the animals around us. We'll work through each of the four activities - one each week.
#15. Discovering Arizona's Petrified Forest Park
Another favorite feature of the Think Outside Boxes subscription is reading about each month's featured North American park. Arizona's Petrified Forest Park sounds fascinating. Petroglyphs, paleontology, and a wide variety of guided activities and tours mean we just might add it to our list of "Places to Visit When It's -40 Degrees at Home!"
Here are our previous Think Outside Boxes Posts:
HOW TO GET A COUPON CODE FOR THINK OUTSIDE BOXES OUTDOOR ADVENTURE BOX
If you’re looking for a fun way to get your children (or grandchildren) off the couch and away from those tablets or television screens, sign up for the Think Outside Boxes Outdoor Adventure Service. You’ll find several different pricing plans to choose from, including a bulk purchase plan for six or more boxes.