Outdoor Hour Challenge #10 Outdoor Picnic


“..by beginning with the child in nature-study we take him to the laboratory of the wood or garden, the roadside or the field, and his materials are the wild flowers or the weeds, or the insects that visit the goldenrod or the bird that sings in the maple tree, or the woodchuck whistling in the pasture.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 21

Our family eats dinner outside every night from June to September….longer if the weather allows. We have arranged our patio table under a canopy and the citronella candles are always kept nearby. We have a tree that the hummingbirds sip nectar from in the dusk hours and after our meal we sit and observe their dinnertime.
deck and table
Picnics don’t need to be fancy. Wrap up a sandwich in a cloth napkin, grab a piece of fruit, and some water and you are set. Venture outside even if it is only to your own yard to sit on a blanket and enjoy your lunch. Afterwards you can make time for a short period of nature study.
Outdoor Hour Challenge #10

1. The challenge is to have a picnic. No need to go far or to even have a picnic table. Food always tastes better outside and if you don’t want to commit to a whole lunch, why not just a snack?

“…When the weather is warm, why not eat breakfast and lunch outside?…Besides the benefit of an added hour or two of fresh air, meals eaten outside are often delightful, and there’s nothing like happiness to convert food and drink into healthy blood and bodies.“ Charlotte Mason quote Outdoor Life pg 43

After you eat, sit and listen to the sounds of the spring.

“Given the power of nature to calm and soothe us in our hurried lives, it also would be interesting to study how a family’s connection to nature influences the general quality of family relationships. Speaking from personal experience, my own family’s relationships have been nourished over the years through shared experiences in nature-from sharing our toddler’s wonder upon turning over a rock and discovering a magnificent bug the size of a mouse, to paddling our old canoe down a nearby creek during the children’s school years, to hiking the mountains.” Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

2. After your picnic, spend 10-15 minutes observing your surroundings. 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. Make a journal entry if you wish.

Getting Started Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook

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.


  1. I was having trouble linking to my blog, so here’s the info anyway:
    Rebecca from A Splendid Time

    We had a wonderful time, sorry I am two weeks late. Terrible move and now we are more settled.

    I am looking forward to more Green Hour Challenges!
    Rebecca ~Mom to 8 under 10

  2. Thanks again for another fun challenge. We are really enjoying our times in nature!

  3. Whew! I didn’t think we would ever get to this one because of rain! We ended up having a wonderful time.


  4. Okay, call me daft but I’m asking anyway. I am looking over your wonderful blog and really, really want to get started. So as I go over the–

    Join Us For The Outdoor Hour Challenges-Weekly assignments to go with the Handbook of Nature Study

    section I am overwhelmed. Tell me. Do you by any chance have all this compiled somewhere for me to print out and read over at my leisure or is it mainly here on your blog and I need to access it here?

  5. Tricia,

    If you look on the right sidebar of my blog you will find a link to the Outdoor Hour Challenge eBook that gathers the first ten challenges into one convenient book that you can use from your computer or print out and use with your family.

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  6. We had a picnic tonight and had such a nice time outside. We listened to and watched the birds; and checked out how the gardens are doing.

  7. Hi. I’m getting round to posting this a bit late, since we actually had our picnics several weeks ago. Anyway, I love picnics as a way to encourage children to enjoy being outdoors, and I love the way nature study just ‘happens’ when you’re on a picnic.

  8. The picnic – my favorite ending!

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