Outdoor Hour Challenge #17 Collecting Leaves

This week’s challenge has several layers. The task oriented part of the challenge is to learn the proper names of the leaf parts and to collect leaves to press for your nature journal. The less task oriented part of the challenge is accomplished as you sit in your garden area. It could be either your garden or a near-by park’s garden. The challenge is to sit quietly. This is a refreshing activity to adults and children alike. There is nothing like sitting and experiencing all the green things growing up around you.

“Out in this, God’s beautiful world, there is everything waiting to heal lacerated nerves, to strengthen tired muscles, to please and content the soul that is torn to shreds with duty and care.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 3.

I know, I know. This is probably the most difficult part of nature study for most of you with young families. Believe me, I have had four busy, talkative, curious children and three of them are boys so I understand. This is not something that comes easily for most young ones but it is something they can learn in very small doses. My best advice is to keep your expectations realistic. How about 10-30 seconds? Make it a game to see who can be quiet the longest. Or something that works for our family even now that the boys are older is to give them a number of things they should listen for. You could go according to the child’s age and ask them to listen for six things if they are six. You can vary this idea to suit your family. The main point is to try a little bit each time you are out for your nature study time.

Here is a video showing some tips for drawing leaves in your nature journal and also how to press the leaves in your cardboard press.

Challenge #17  
Learning the Leaf Parts

1. View the illustration in the Handbook of Nature Study on page 456-A leaf with parts named. This information is for you as the parent/nature guide so you will have the proper names for each part of the leaf. Try to use these labels when you are out looking at leaves during your nature time.

You can view more information about leaf part names, leaf shape names, and leaf arrangement examples at this link:
Wildflower Leaf Types


2. Take your 10-15 minute outdoor time to look for various sizes and shapes of leaves. Collect a few leaves to press in your press. An additional challenge this week is to sit quietly for a minute or maybe two in a garden area and observe the sights, sounds, and smells. Are there any insects to watch? Can you spot a bird flying overhead? Do you hear a bee buzzing? Is the weather warm or hot?

3. Add any new garden flowers to your list in your nature journal.

4. This week you can draw some leaves in your nature journal. As you draw your leaves, make sure to use the proper names for each part of the leaf so your child will begin to learn the vocabulary in a natural way. You can encourage your child to sketch some garden flowers in their journal again this week. Record your flower seeds growth and/or record your sunflowers growth for the week. You might choose to make leaf rubbings rather than draw leaves.

5. Add leaves or additional flowers to your press. Pressed flowers can be put into your nature journal.

This challenge is part of my Garden Flowers ebook. This ebook has ten garden related challenges that will walk you through a study of garden flowers using the Handbook of Nature Study. In addition to the challenges already written, there will be more photos, nature journal examples, book lists, and totally new notebook pages designed to go with each of the Garden Flower Challenges.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy


  1. Oh Barb, that was an AWESOME video! So inspiring!!! It makes me want to jump back on that Outdoor Hour Train NOW!!!! :)

    I love the idea of having the picture of the week. What a great way to make this a really homeschool comminity adventure. Those boys look adorable!

    Thanks so much for all your idea’s and your willingness to share your talents with other homeschoolers. I wish I could give you a big hug IRL! But this will have to do {{BARB}}!!!


  2. Barb, the new logo is lovely. But I’m having a senior moment and I can’t remember where to get the code for the button. Could you please post the directions again.

  3. Great New logo!!!! I love it!!
    I think people will really be able to connect with it!! This challenge looks wonderful I am looking forward to our “Outdoor
    Hour” this coming week!! Thanks again for everything!!-Angie in GA

  4. Barb
    This is the first video of yours that I’ve watched and I LOVED it!! You’re a great teacher. The only thing better would be to live next door to you!
    Thanks for all your work, it is so appreciated!

  5. Well…we did everything plus more, but skipped the sitting quiet part! Maybe another day!
    I’m curious about your bean leaf.

  6. We finally did it. We did an outdoor challenge. After watching the video I bought some watercolor pencils. My children drew the leaves this afternoon and discussed parts of the leaf. Now I need to go make a flower press!! THANK YOU. I figured I would leave a comment here because I do not know how to use Mr. Linky (tried to figure it out, but looks like you need a blog, maybe) Anyway, thanks again.

    Michele in Central California

  7. Thank you so much for the challenges. I have a question about pressing flowers and leaves. How do you put them into your journal? I hope this isn’t too stupid, we use tape and I just wondered if you had a better way.

  8. Me and my boy loved this challenge – we decided to skip a few and jump back in here (hope that’s OK?!).
    We found quite a few leaves for pressing – Littlesmurf enjoyed this in particular!
    You’re doing a great job, Barb, it’s much appreciated!

  9. Hi Barb!! :)
    We are a few days late posting our results but this was an AMAZING challenge for us. Quite busy- and a lot to talk about! The biggest thing ended up not being the leaves but the Black Widow Spider and egg sac my son identified (6 yo). I posted two pictures of the black widow so other parents and children could see and discuss it. :) Thanks for all you do! I feel blessed to have discovered your blogs and challenges and to get to “know” you! :) Keep your chin up!

  10. This was a great challenge, although it was really a challenge finding a book large enough to press the horse chestnut leaves in! I can’t believe all the trials you’ve been through lately. We so enjoy your efforts on this though and plan to catch up and keep enjoying nature study through the summer. Thank you so much!!

  11. This was a great challenge even though we completed it in Novemeber! We enjoyed learning the proper names for all the leaf parts and the boys really enjoyed your tutorial. Thanks!

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