Exploring nature with children is something you would think is really easy to do. Snatch an art journal, grab the kids, and enjoy a leisure walk outside.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it! Instead when we head outside, we forget the art journal. The kids race ahead as fast as their feet can propel them.
Stop to observe nature? Only if I can catch them!
I eagerly accepted Lynn’s offer of a free copy to review and discovered it’s just as delightful as it looks on her blog Raising Little Shoots! All opinions are my honest opinions and I was not required to post a positive review. For more information, please read my disclosure.
Exploring Nature with Children
One day, I told myself, I’d find a good nature study curriculum.
- One that would allow us to study nature in our backyard or the local park.
- One that was adaptable to all my kids, from my preschooler to my senior in high school.
- One that was easy to use.
- One without too many decisions to make. Let me just open and go.
And that’s exactly what Lynn Seddon created: an easy curriculum for Exploring Nature with Children! It’s a complete, year-long curriculum. Each month has 4 weeks of nature study.
Week one of September covers seeds. To be perfectly honest, I was wondering why seeds in the fall. Shouldn’t we study seeds in the spring when they begin to sprout?
Nope! It turned out to be perfect. As Lynn explains in her curriculum on p. 18,
As summer fades, plants are making seeds instead of flowers. This provides food for many creatures through autumn and winter, and enables many plants to grow again the following year.
This week, we are going to learn about the part of a plant’s life cycle known as dispersal. This is how the seeds travel away from the parent plant and each other.
Use Exploring Nature with Children as Science Curriculum
Since my teens keep groaning every time I mention nature study, I decided to skip them for now and use Exploring Nature with Children as my youngest two children’s science.
First I checked out a book recommended by Exploring Nature with Children, Gail Gibbons’ From Seed to Plant. My little ones and I read the book. You actually don’t need to check out any books because Lynn includes a brief note about each week’s topic. I adore the Gail Gibbons books though and try never to miss a chance to check them out to read to my kids.
Then we went outside to the yard the next day to see how many seeds we would find. To be honest, I expected to find only 2 or 3 different types of seeds. We found dozens.
There were still blackberries hanging from the vine. Dandelion fluff and grass seeds abounded in the yard. The trees were dropping acorns, pods, and pears. Flowers had seeds hanging from their stems. We spent a happy hour searching for seeds in our yard.
Eventually I dragged the kids inside to reread Gail Gibbons’ book. Then we grabbed 3 bean seeds to see if we could sprout them. One did. It’s still growing!
Enjoy Extension Activities
We never enjoyed the other activities that went along with the study of seeds. Lynn recommends enjoying the poem Autumn by Emily Dickinson, and studying the artwork Squirrels in a Tree by Archibald Thorburn.
There are also extension activities! We didn’t try these this go around, but I’m setting up the nature table for October. My two little ones love to collect seeds, leaves, and critters. This will give us a place to store their treasures and to bring nature into the house.
We’ll do our nature sketches curled up in the warm kitchen drinking hot chocolate, listening to the recommend music, and studying the various pieces of art.
Use with All Ages
Earlier I mentioned that Exploring Nature with Children can be used for all ages. Obviously it’s easy to be used for preschool and kindergarten, although I do skip quite a bit with them. It’s especially ideal for elementary and middle school kids.
But what about high school?
Each week features a poem to memorize, a piece of art to study, extension activities, and related readings in Handbook of Nature Study. Many of these make wonderful additions to the morning time activities.
In addition high school teens can go deeper in the studies. Instead of glancing at all the seeds in the world, they can sketch, compare, and memorize the Latin names for the types of seeds found. Seeds, flowers, and plants can be dissected.
Connect nature study to the study of biology, earth science, or chemistry. Show how they are intertwined. We tend to think of science happening in pristine labs locked away under a mountain or in the basement of a university.
If you’re looking for a delightful way to include nature study in your homeschool, be sure to check out Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon.
It’s a truly delightful curriculum that will enrich your family’s studies year after year!