Outdoor Hour Challenge #6 Starting a Collection

“It’s a good thing to learn more about nature in order to share this knowledge with children; it’s even better if the adult and child learn about nature together. And it’s a lot more fun.” Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv

rocks in a bowl
Easy collection of rocks in a bowl.

Now may be a great time to start a collection of items for nature study. This can be an organized collection or various items collected to display on a seasonal table.

If your nature study is going along well and you are enjoying the rhythm of your time together, don’t add anything new. The collections are something that can happen at any point in your study of nature. I would rather see you spending more time outdoors if the collections take away from your energy to keep that outdoor time up. On the other hand, if your children are already bringing items home and they want a way to display them, give the collection a try. 



1. Nature study is something that builds from week to week and this week’s assignment includes elements of the first five assignments . In your focus area, pick another item from your list to read about with your child from the Handbook of Nature Study. After reading about the item to the child, take a few minutes to read the observation suggestions to yourself. Keep these ideas in mind as you head out for your 10-15 minutes of nature time outdoors.

“Out-of-door life takes a child afield and keeps him in the open air, which not only helps him physically and occupies his mind with sane subjects, but keeps him out of mischief. It is not only during childhood that this is true, for love of nature counts much for sanity in later life.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 2

2. After your outdoor time, take time to discuss the outing with your child, helping them to find words to describe their experience. Add anything new to your list of items observed in your focus area that you are keeping in your nature journal. Make note of any additional research that needs to be done for things your child is interested in.

“ In nature study any teacher can with honor say, “I do not know”; for perhaps the question asked is as yet unanswered by the great scientists.” page 3

3. Give an opportunity for a nature journal entry. Remember this can be a simple drawing, a label, and a date. Challenges 2 and 3 have ideas for alternatives to drawing in the nature journal.

4. Think about starting a collection to supplement your nature journal in your focus area.

Some ideas for collections: leaf rubbings, tree bark rubbings, pressed flowers, rocks, feathers, shells, seeds, insects, or photographs or drawings of subjects that are too large to collect like trees and clouds.

Some ideas for storage:

  • Egg cartons work well for things like rocks or seeds.
  • Sheet protectors work well for holding items like feathers, leaves, or photographs.
  • Specialty boxes you purchase for insects, rocks, shells, or butterflies.
  • Wicker paper plate holder to keep each season’s items on your science shelf. (See photo in blog entry.) It works well for things like small cones, leaves, twigs, moss, or seed pods.
  • Shoe boxes work well if you make little compartments with cardboard or cardstock to section off the items.
  • Tic-tac boxes for sand, small rocks, or transporting insects.

This challenge is found in the Getting Started ebook which is included in every level of membership. The ebook provides the challenge as shown above as well as custom notebook pages for your follow up nature journal if desired.

Daffodils In Depth for Outdoor Hour #5

Outdoor Hour Challenge #5 Making a List

Our focus is garden flowers and we marked our table of contents for flowers we think we will study over the next few weeks. Last week we did pansies and this week we are learning about daffodils. We read the section in the Handbook of Nature Study and then headed outdoors to our garden “laboratory”.

We had our 10-15 minutes outdoors today looking for daffodils or jonquils. We have several varieties blooming right now so it was perfect timing. Here are a few photos.
jonquilsdaffodils

We read in the Handbook of Nature Study about the parts of the daffodil so when we went outside we made sure to look closely to see each part. Here is the sheath.

daffodil sheath

Here is the seedcase when we opened it up with a knife.
cutting open the seedcase

Okay, so now we were wondering why you grow daffodils from a bulb and not from seeds. We went to the internet and found the answer.

Here is what I found on the internet: The seeds are ripe when they literally rattle in the seedpod or the pod is about to burst open on its own. They should be black then. Hybridizers grow daffodils from seed to try to produce new varieties. The problem with it is it takes a really long time to get a blooming size bulb from seed. Typical is maybe five years! Most people buy and plant bulbs because they like results (flowers) sooner than that.

Here is the bouquet I was given at the end of our study today. It is in our special daffodil vase that my middle son gave to me as a gift many years ago. I love it.
jonquils in a vase

So that was our very enjoyable Outdoor Hour challenge for this week. We learned more about a flower we have grown in our garden for decades. I love nature study and so does my son.

Shooting Stars, Miner’s Lettuce, and Hound’s Tongue

Sierra shooting star
 

My husband and I took a walk today to see if we could find any more wildflowers blooming early. We were not disappointed. It was a cool morning and the trail was damp but the sun was bright as we walked down the hill. Not far past the place where we parked the car, we found several beauties waiting for us.
 
Pacific Hound’s Tongue flower



Here is the leaf on the Pacific hound’s tongue that gives it its name. The Maidu tribe used this for stomachaches and burns.

Miner’s lettuce


Unidentified flower. I think it may be a wild carrot but I’m not sure.


This pretty little leaf is poison oak…..it was everywhere around the trail we were on. We didn’t notice it until this time down the trail so we will have to be more watchful climbing up and off the trail from now on. :)

I am learning the value of going on a particular trail more than once to see the differences from time to time. We are getting to know this little hill and every time we hike down it we find something new and interesting.

We stood quietly listening a few times. We were rewarded with the sound of a distant woodpecker knocking on his tree trunk. We heard some California quail with their little unique sounding bird call. If you want to hear what it sounds like, here is a link:
What Bird.com for California Quail if you scroll down the page a bit, on the left side, there is a button to click to hear the quail call.

It was a refreshing hour out in the air and sunshine.