These six nature study activities can be done alongside nature journaling or on their own. What you choose to incorporate will depend on the ages, stages and interests of your children.
The treasures found while out exploring on nature walks can be displayed on a nature table or shelf. It’ll be a place to store all the children stones, feathers, leaves, nuts and cones. A new display can be started each month to keep it manageable and interesting, or the table can be decorated with a theme each season and a new collection started. The nature collection can also be one that grows slowly over time. I’ve encouraged our children to identify their finds and label them. This is optional.
Cabinet of Curiosities
Create a Cabinet for fragile and unique curiosities discovered on trials. Gordon Grice, writes in the Cabinet of Curiosities, household items like a fishing tackle box or desk organizer can be used to store specimens.
A Record of Current Events
Make a list of current events relating to nature as they occur. What an amazing keep sake it’ll be to look over as the years go by. Record the date, place and time of the event.
Keep a list each of insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians which visit your garden, neighbourhood or nature spot. If you search for wildflowers and orchids, keep lists of dates, time and places so you’re able to visit the same spot next year. Then you won’t miss your favourite orchids.
Diary of Firsts
Charlotte Mason encouraged her students to keep a Diary of Firsts. She explains, “It is a capital plan for the children to keep a calendar of the first oak-leaf, the first tad-pole, the first cowslip, the first catkin, the first ripe blackberries, where seen and when. The next year, they will know when and where to look out for their favourites, and will, every year, be in a condition to add new observations.” Peek into Lynn Seddon of Raising Little Shoots Diary of Firsts for inspiration.
A phenology wheel is a visual picture of what is happening in your space through the year. The wheel has two wheels within itself and the circle is divided by 12 sections; one for each month. The outer wheel names the seasons and months. A painting or sketch is made within the central wheel. The sketch can be anything you enjoyed in nature that month. The inner most wheel can be used to record special days of the month, like birthdays, Anzac Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas and Easter. Lynn Seddon, from Raising Little Shoots, has a fantastic guide on how to create a phenology wheel.
Do you have a nature study shelf or table? What activities would you add to this list?