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I have always loved the idea of nature study. In fact, A Pocketful of Pinecones is one of my all-time favorite books! When I first started homeschooling, I expected to go on weekly nature walks with my kids with our nature study backpacks full of field guides and magnifying glasses, collecting specimens to look at under the microscope, drawing in our nature journals, and learning all manner of science out in the real world.
But, after homeschooling for 12 years, I have to finally face the facts. I’m a lazy homeschool mom when it comes to nature study. So, I’m grateful for these 4 totally awesome nature study ideas for lazy homeschool moms!
No Sweat Nature Studies
Nature study is almost synonymous with Cindy West’s NaturExplorers! But, still, the homeschool mom has to get outside and do it with the kids. So, Cindy has a brand new product out, just for us lazy nature study moms called No Sweat Nature Studies: Nature-Based Science Lessons for Multiple Ages from the Comfort of Your Home or Classroom.
There are more coming out, but the first one is Defense Mechanisms of Plants.
Now, yes there is a double meaning to these No Sweat Nature Studies. You won’t sweat outside in the heat–because you won’t be going outside at all! But, you also don’t have to sweat to prepare much, if any, to add these nature studies to your homeschool.
Through the use of kid-friendly, hand-selected videos, websites, online images, and books, you can teach nature study topics to multiple ages in short bursts of time. There are 8 lessons included (bark, poison, defenses, leaves, symbiotic relationships, etc.), and it’s for 1st-8th graders.
Cindy included 6 different types of schedules to help you figure out how to fit it into your homeschool schedule. Only have 15 minutes? There’s an option for that. Want to devote an hour and call it elementary science for the week? She has you covered!
My favorite part of the curriculum is the resource page of videos that Cindy has included a link for in the ebook. Each lesson has a couple of videos (ranging from 1 to 14 minutes long) so your kids can SEE what they’re learning about– the thorns on the plants, the blight disease, transpiration from leaves, etc.
She has included five books on the book list that are probably in your library. Included also are some drawing activities, simple experiments that you can do right there in your kitchen, and pages to read from the Handbook of Nature Study (optional).
Head over to pick up your copy of No Sweat Nature Studies now!
Outdoor Science Labs On-the-Go
Another awesome idea from Cindy is her new
Print any page, send the kids out the door, and the worksheet will take care of the rest!
Some key facts:
- For 7-12-year-olds, 2nd-6th graders.
- These printables are way more than surface-level nature notebooking pages, they are little science labs to complete during nature walks.
- Cover a wide variety of nature topics.
- The pages require students to observe closely and make detailed notes that often require such things as collecting data, mapping, charting, diagramming, making comparisons, and experimentation.
- They are very low-prep for the parent – often just print and go.
- Make perfect summer boredom busters.
- If used during the school year, there are enough walks to pick and choose from and still have enough to get through an entire year of weekly nature study.
I’m really excited about these. I know my kids will love the various scavenger hunt pages included.
Read Living Books about Nature Study
One of my favorite ways to get nature study into my kids is to read a living book. Living books tell the story of the animal in a way that truly brings them to life and helps kids understand all about the animal. Here are 3 of my favorites:
Screech Owl at Midnight Hollow by C. Drew Lamm
Pagoo by Holling C. Holling (about a hermit crab)
Sea Lion Roars by C. Drew Lamm
Do Nature Study Through Art
This is an awesome idea if your kids are artsy. They can learn about nature and art at the same time!
Chalk Pastel’s video art lessons with Nana have lots that focus on nature. She is such a sweet lady and relates to the kids well. And, chalk pastels are a perfect medium for any age, preschool through adult!
They have a brand new product out called Backyard Nature Video Art Lessons. These video lessons require only a set of chalk pastels and some basic copy paper. Play the lessons on a computer, tablet, or even a phone! Try a free lesson here.
The lessons included in Backyard Nature Video Art Lessons are:
- green anole
- hummingbirds at the feeder
- lightning bug (or firefly)
All lessons in the nature category are on sale through June 24th for 20% off.
- Summer Art Camp
- Backyard Nature
- Forest Nature
- Garden Nature
Which of these awesome nature study ideas are you going to try first? Let me know in the comments!
- 100+ Creative Nature Walk Ideas
- Ideas for a Plants Lapbook
- Review: Homeschool Legacy’s “Forest for the Trees” unit study
- Apologia Swimming Creatures: Our Favorite Elementary Science Curriculum
(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)