Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nature Study + Family Fun = A Great Day

I have to admit that the Charlotte-Mason style nature study has always interested me. We haven't done much with it, though. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't really know where to begin or because it seemed like we didn't have the time. Today's day out, though, has reminded me how great it could be.

Family Fun Magazine had a good article in this past month's issue which got us started. (I don't think this month's activities are on their website yet. I'll try to link to the specific ideas when Family Fun updates their site.)

1. We did some digging in the yard to look for worms and we tested Family Fun's idea of how to get worms to come up to the surface. 
2. We used materials that we had around the house to study the underwater critters at our nearby lake. We also tested the pH levels.

3. We had a picnic and made Family Fun's Sweet Seedlings (very cute!) 

In addition, we did a nature walk and journaling, and the kids also took some photographs. They took along our bird-identification book and also tried to identify the birds by their calls. One of the highlights of the day was finding a killdeer nest with four eggs in it. The momma bird treated us to her "broken wing" imitation so that we could see what she does when she feels her nest is threatened. We didn't stay long but snapped a few pictures before leaving momma to her work.

Since we had recently read "Sign of the Beaver" for history, we also tried to leave "signs" to show ourselves the way back (even though we already knew the way).

The kids and I really enjoyed our time!


  1. My kids LOVE looking for bugs and playing with worms...what was their suggestion to get them to come to the surface? Sound like something we should try! :)

  2. They suggested using two sticks. Pound one stick several inches into the ground. Use the other stick to rub against this stick in a sawing motion. It causes vibrations which may feel like underground predators, causing the worms to come up to the surface for safety. Family Fun suggested it might take several minutes.

    What I would try next time:
    1. I would push the stick 5 or 6 inches into the ground instead of 2 or 3 inches.
    2. I might give it more time. Family Fun said that it should only take a couple minutes. I saw somewhere else online that it might take up to 1/2 hour!

    I would also suggest starting in a place where you know worms like to hang out (compost pile, worm bin, etc.).

    Good luck!