Outdoor Hour Challenge #4 – Summer Edition


Outdoor Hour Challenge #4

Revisited Summer 2018


From the Archives and from the Getting Started Ebook

Now that we’re rolling with our summer nature study, I’m sure you’ve started to see your child’s interest in particular aspects of nature. Perhaps they’re fascinated with insects or they enjoy spotting new birds in your yard. Build on their interest by focusing a little more closely on those specific topics as you follow the suggestions in this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Use the Handbook of Nature Study website to enhance your nature study after you choose a focus. Look for the topic tabs at the top of the page for the corresponding nature topic. On each of the tabbed pages you will find listed all of the Outdoor Hour Challenges and other activities related to that topic. This will make it easier for you to find information on the website to use in your focus area. For instance, if your child wants to focus on a study of birds, click the bird tab, and scroll down to view the topics to choose from. There are also listed book suggestions, available free printables, archived newsletters, and additional activity ideas.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Note: Archived newsletters, ebooks, and some of the printables are available to members of the Handbook of Nature Study. See the Join Us page for more information.

Nature Study books

Summer Nature Study Tip: In addition to your nature time, take advantage of a hot afternoon to visit your (air conditioned) local public library to explore their shelves for books on your focus area. The information they glean from a well presented book on their field of interest will feed their enthusiasm for learning about nature.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Time

Getting Started Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook

If you have access to the Getting Started ebook, there’s a custom notebook page that you can use alongside Outdoor Hour Challenge #4 if you wish, or a number of blank pages you can print and use instead. Click the cover above to view a sample of this ebook.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

The Getting Started ebook is included in all levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study, including the Discover Level.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #3 – Summer Edition


Outdoor Hour Challenge #3

Revisited Summer 2018


From the Archives and from the Getting Started Ebook

If this is your third week following along with the Getting Started series this summer, you’ve already accomplished some important steps in your nature study journey. OHC #1 helped you get outside with your children. OHC #2 showed you how easy it is to follow up with a discussion and words. Now, it’s time to take a few minutes after your outdoor time to put something on paper.

Getting Started with Nature Journals

I’ve written at length here on my blog about nature journals. If you click over to my nature journal tab, you’ll find lots of information to inspire and encourage you and your children in your efforts to record the fascinating things you discover during your Outdoor Hour time.

It may make it more fun if you start a nature journal alongside your children, leading by example, writing your words down on a page. Don’t worry about sketching if you’re intimidated by the thought of drawing in your nature journal. (You can read my journey with my nature journal here: Drawing and Your Nature Journal.)


Summer Nature Study Tip: Use the hot afternoon hours to pull out the nature journaling supplies and work together to create a page or two using items you collected on a nature walk or you can work from photos you took during your Outdoor Hour.

It’s okay if they don’t want to create a nature journal every time you have your

Outdoor Hour Challenge time.

Getting Started Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook

If you have access to the Getting Started ebook, there’s a custom notebook page that you can use alongside Outdoor Hour Challenge #3 if you wish, or a number of blank pages you can print and use instead.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

The Getting Started ebook is included in all levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study, including the Discover Level.


Overwhelmed with the thought of getting started with nature study? You may wish to read my entry: Nature Study the Gentle Way. In this entry, I share a simple idea that you could try in your family.

Outdoor Mom and Goal Update July 2018

Outdoor Mom – July 2018


And an Update of My Nature Study Goals 2018 for the Second Quarter


Columbia river


We’re finally doing a summertime dance as the temperatures climb and the skies are clear. It’s been a struggle for me personally because my husband and I made a commitment to each other to get the yard done during June and July. Making it a priority has meant we have to pass on some recreational opportunities.


kayaking little deschutes with boys

We still try to fit in our daily river walks and a few short kayak excursions when we can.


Fort Stevens Beach

Plus, we did take a week and go camping on the northern coast of Oregon. The beaches there are either rugged or sand dunes. The weather was pretty good and we found a couple of places to kayak, including Lake Coffinbury, where we saw bald eagles!


sea stars oregon

We took advantage of the negative tide and did some tide pooling. I spotted a purple sea star, the most colorful one I’ve ever seen. There were loads of anemones and barnacles.


coyote pup oregon


We’ve had an abundance of wildlife right in our backyard. My son saw this coyote pup strolling through the back fence and I was able to capture an image or too.


June 2018 swallow birds nest nesting box  (7) babies

We have 5 birds nesting in our yard- 2 tree swallows, a chickadee, a Pygmy nuthatch, and a mountain bluebird! What a fantastic thing for this bird loving girl! My husband built the nesting boxes last year, a little too late in the season so we weren’t sure what to expect this year. Happy surprises!


cavity nest nuthatches

The nuthatch nest is in this crack in the pine tree, believe it or not. Amazing!


cattle oregon

The cattle are back in the pasture behind our house and we’ve so enjoyed seeing all the newborn calves. They sure are curious little things!


June bird list chalkboard

Here is my June list of birds seen from our back window. I love keeping track and now my friends come over and check the board every time they visit to see what new birds have been added.


Life is good here in my little part of the world.


Now here’s an update on my nature study goals as a way of keeping me accountable.


2018 Nature Study Goals @handbookofnaturestudy


Nature Study Goals 2018 – 2nd Quarter Update


Nature Observer page June


1. Nature Observer journal – I’ve continued to journal my observations almost every day. I find if I don’t take a minute to note what happened during the day that I forget the little things; the things that when I look back mean the most.

Nature Observer monthly recap

There are very few prompts I haven’t filled in from the many nature-related page ideas. I adapt the ones that really don’t fit my style. I’m trying not to make excuses and just do my best to keep the journal full of thoughts and observations that show the picture of what it’s like living here in Central Oregon.

I’m still highly recommending this journal!

Nature Observer Guided Journal


Edit to add an affiliate link: Nature Observer.


wildflower list Nature Observer


2. Keep a record of the wildflowers that grow in my local habitat. I narrowed this goal to include my yard and the grassland between my house and the river. I keep my list in my Nature Observer journal.


3. Visit the High Desert Museum each month. I have failed at this! They have a new exhibit featuring rocks and the history of rock climbing that I really want to see, so I’ve now put it on the plan. Plus, I want to go see the raptors again.


4. Visit Sunriver Nature Center and see the garden. We ended up going to the Sunriver Observatory instead with some friends. It was awe inspiring as always, to look up at the stars and the planets Venus and Jupiter.


5. Take 3 new hikes. Twin Lake hike, Smith Rock – not new.


6. Get the kayaks out in a new local spot. My oldest son bought a canoe and my middle son bought a kayak so we’re all able to get on the water and explore the local area. So far, we’ve kept to our familiar stretches of river but we have plans next week to go exploring.


Additional Goal Related Items

Fort Clatsop


We purchased our National Parks pass and visited Lewis & Clark National Park, which is really a group of places centered around Astoria, Oregon. Visiting these places and then kayaking on the Lewis & Clark River were a highlight of our camping trip last month.


new butterfly garden oregon

Our backyard landscape is coming together. We’ve discovered that we can transplant many grasses and wildflowers and even an aspen tree to fill in our garden spaces. It’s a very big learning process and we need to keep reminding ourselves that it will take many years to accomplish what we want to in this space.
Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge

Follow me here: Instagram – outdoorhourchallenge. If you would like me to take a look at one of your images on Instagram, use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge.

Want to join in the Outdoor Mom post?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time this month we went…
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting…
  • I added nature journal pages about…
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • One last image…