Take it outside: Tips for Fall Nature Study with your child
Going outside to explore the great outdoors and all its creatures is the perfect way to refresh and invigorate your child’s learning. With so much growing and buzzing all around them, your child can’t help but be inspired to ask questions and seek more information.
Here at ChristianBook.com/homeschool we’ve put together a list of our top tips for making the most of your child’s learning outdoors…
- Keep a nature journal – by recording their experiences outdoors and jotting down all the flora and fauna they come across, your child can practice their art skills and further refine their ability to draw and capture what they see.
- Encourage open-ended scientific thinking – Nature walks have a great way of spurring questions that may not otherwise be asked, or even thought of, in a classroom setting. When your child cannot simply flip back a few pages to find the answers, they are open to draw upon their own knowledge and reasoning for unstructured exploration of the world around them.
- Take advantage of fall – it’s the most wonderful time of the year to explore outdoors. With so much change, there’s plenty to be observed. Leaves provide an excellent tool for teaching tree identification, binomial classifications and developing drawing skills. They also make for fun art projects such as creating sun catchers, leaf rubbings and adding to nature journal pages.
- Harvest lessons – while we’re on the topic of fall, take a trip to a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard. There is an abundance of resources on the topic of these fall harvests – you may even want to integrate an historical component with lessons on Johnny Appleseed.
- Get out there – Visit your local arboretum, state park or science center. These places can provide rich lessons on environmental history
- Experiments and projects – put them in the shoes of a scientist and have them monitor a topic that interests them over a period of time. This will help to develop critical skills such as observing, interpreting and reporting their findings. Some fun projects could be recording the weather or temperature conditions each year, or keeping track of migrating bird species with Audubon.
- Look to the sky – Not all nature studies have to take place during the day. By integrating astronomy into your studies, you can teach your children the rich history of how people have used the skies for navigation and telling time. Looking to the night sky can also help your child learn about the phases of the moon, and how to use the pole star to navigate.
- It’s a bird! – On the topic of having our heads turned to the sky, try a little bird watching while outdoors. So easy to study right from your own backyard, whether in an urban or rural setting. Why not try a little bird feeder craft? Your child will love seeing the birds that return for the food set out for them.
- The not-so-creepy crawlies – Insects make for a thoroughly interesting study – between studying the phenomenon of swarms and their tendency to work together in large numbers, your child is sure to enjoy finding out more about these creatures. Why not keep an ant farm for closer study? Or visit an apiary to learn more about how bees turn nectar into honey?
- Breathe it in – enjoy the fresh air and the incredible environment that surrounds us. Have fun with it, and your child will too!
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