A few years ago, a couple of my friends online have been creating some fantastic nature studies and I was jealous of their science lessons. It all started with Phyllis over at All Things Beautiful and her wonderful drawings her kids would do of their nature study. Then Claire over at Angellicscalliwags started up a weekly pond visit with one activity to do each time she goes there with for a nature study with her kids, AND Navigating by Joy has a great series on her nature study.
I was having serious nature study jealousy, so I tried out some different nature study ideas, these are geared for elementary-age kids, but you could adapt them down to preschool by removing the writing element, or up to older kids by expecting more from them, and following up with research into what they saw (Almost Unschoolers does great with this).
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We headed over to a local park we love to go to and started observation. So far our trips have only been observation. Next, I’m going to start working on improving their drawing skills and WHAT they write (future Ticia, that didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but I’m still working at that).
Our Weekly nature study assignments
Our first week was in the midst of wildflower season here, and everyone was in a horrid mood, so I just had them observe a flower and draw it. This was one of Princess’ favorites.
This particular nature study led to a great discussion between the kids and me. What is living and what is non-living? I went through what constitutes a living being, but they had all sorts of arguments on this idea. It also led to a bit of competitiveness as they tried to have the most living things they found. That part was a little bit annoying.
Choose one animal and in 5 minutes write down as much as you can about it. I was amazed that in all that time none of my kids really wrote anything about the color of the animal. They wrote about what it did, how it moved, but nothing about the color of their animals. Also, I was highly amused by their animal choices.
My final suggestion to share, go to the park right after it’s rained and see the changes. This was one of my kids’ favorite ideas. They loved looking to see how it changed, especially because this park flooded two years ago, the bridge was closed for a year as they fixed it. Several of the concrete benches were knocked out of place, but it’s now all back to normal. We’ve had a couple of times where it’s been time to go shortly after it’s rained, and each time the kids have found new observations.
One last tip, give them time to play. If I’m honest this is the kids’ favorite time of our park study. They sit there and splash in the creek for a good 30 minutes, and then we head over to the playscape to play and dry off.
Want some more Nature Study Ideas?
I’ve got two quick suggestions for you:
- Check out my friend Marci’s Backyard Science ebook
- My nature study Pinterest board is where I stored all of those posts I referred to earlier.
- More nature study ideas for preschool
- Identifying rocks with a nature guide