Nature study is really a simple thing. There are many things to look at and discover throughout your days and weeks. Here are some pictures I’ve accumulated over several weeks.
Since our cats are not ‘fixed’, we get to enjoy the miracle of life and also experience the sadness of death. They are outside cats. The first cat that adopted us was a smart cat and only got pregnant once per year. When she died and we replaced her, this cat was not as smart and ended up pregnant more often. Unfortunately, we have experienced the sadness of death many many times with our cats. But it is neat to see newborn kittens and watch them as they grow up.
Here are two of our kittens.
It is fun to watch as they learn to hunt. This is the reason we have them, to hunt mice, moles, gophers, and any other pests they can get rid of.And then just to watch them interact with each other and their habits is interesting.
Right after I snapped this picture they both opened their eyes and looked right at me.
When we were out planting flowers, I saw this bug.
I don’t know what kind it is but during our homeschooling years, we would have gotten out the insect books to try and make that determination.
One day I looked out and saw this.
Do you see it?
For a while, we were seeing lots of these. I’m not sure if they are still about and I’m just not catching them or if they have moved on or proceeded on the circle of life.
Then one day my hubby pointed out this critter.
Yeah, this one is hard to see . . . how about now?
This one is larger than we’ve had walk around the house before. Usually it is a box turtle; I’m not sure what this one is.
It’s rained quite a bit around here lately. One day these popped up. When I first noticed them they were very domed. As they have matured thy have flattened out on top. Michael has since mowed the grass and now they are not. If we still had school aged children, I would have had him leave them until we can watch how they finish out their cycle.
Planting flower seeds and watching them grow is another great way to study nature.
We grew these from seeds we had saved from planting store bought seeds several years ago. We will dry some of these seeds and save them for next year. You can do the same with many flowers; marigolds is another easy one to do because the flower head dries out so quickly.
Then one week in the parking lot of the library I saw this.
I don’t know where she ended up but they made it to the grass. It was neat to watch those little ducklings jump up the curb.
Of course, if Liam, my grandson, had been with me, I would have read Make Way for Ducklings when we got home or inside the library if we were staying for a while. It was so fun to see.
Just seeing these things and telling someone else what they saw is a good start at nature study. They can also draw what they see. Taking a picture of it is always a good idea too but not necessary. They can look up information about what they saw. Diagram it, labeling its parts. They can draw the life cycle of it.
In the case of planting seeds, they can have several pages where they are ‘documenting’ their plant growth. In the case of animals, they can find out what they eat and what might eat them. They can discover how it is born and how long it generally lives. You can go as deep as you desire or stay shallow by simply documenting what they see. It doesn’t have to be elaborate but if your child is interested in the topic, he/she can do more research via library or internet.
Bottom line is to be observant as you go throughout your days. Draw attention to the shape of the moon or that the moon is visible sometimes while the sun is still up. And then have them write something about it, assuming they are old enough.
I have seen a hummingbird and a butterfly on the flowers out in the middle of my yard, from my living room window, all because I took the time to look. Just imagine what you might see!
I hope this inspires you to look around you and observe the wonder that is all around.
Until next time, God bless,