For the past four years, we have been faithfully working our way through the Sonlight Science series, but this year I am opting for a more homespun approach. We will be using a handful of the nature-themed Questions & Answer Books by David Adler as our core material and will fill in with more quality living literature books as needed.
In addition, we have recently joined a once-a-month nature club that will meet to enjoy nature hikes, zoo trips, nature journaling, and other Charlotte Mason-style science adventures.
To launch our nature study endeavors, we invited one of our favorite families to join us in a nature hike through a local state park. (Just as a quick side note: a few weeks ago, in my Glad to Meetcha’ post, I mentioned having five women in my life who unswervingly speak truth in my life. The mother of this adorable brood of girls is one of my FAITHFUL FIVE.)
We began our hike with a campfire hotdog roast and romp in the field of their family lot that juts up right next to the state park. With backpacks full of nature notebooks, colored pencils, water bottles, and homemade cookies (Because what else would you want to eat in the woods?), we embarked on our morning adventure.
It is our family tradition to bring along painted egg cartons for a scavenger hunt-type walk. The goal is to find something from nature that is similar in color to one of the twelve painted compartments. Although my older kids are old enough, now, to appreciate God’s glorious creation all by themselves, my younger Littles are more apt to appreciate the wonders of nature if given a concentrated focus. The egg carton provides a simple “goal.”
Before hitting the trail, we all took a look at the classic, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. This beautifully illustrated diary represents all the best in simplistic nature notebooking. I wanted to ignite some artistic inspiration and extend the challenge to find the “creative” in Creation as we ventured out.
As I had hoped, all eyes were fixed on the trail and surrounding colors. The kids were able to observe things that I don't think they'd otherwise locate...two chipmunks scurrying into a hole, spider webs clinging to the branches of a toppled tree, a cluster of worker ants making a trail to the river, and even a very hungry caterpillar clutching to the leaf of a milkweed plant.
Our adventures came to a close at a picnic spot. The kids unloaded their packs, set out their nature finds, and got to work on their journals.
Although we did not know the names of all of our finds, we journaled their locations, date, and a few other points of interest.
All in all, it was a wonderful morning with favorite friends and God's creation. And a great introduction to our year-long nature study.
Looking for more nature journaling ideas and helpful hints, check out these great resources.
Linking up with these lovely blogs.