Outdoor Hour Challenge #45 Mammals: Squirrels

Here comes this week’s challenge. I happen to have a squirrel that visits my backyard and from time to time he gives us a little show. You can be sure we will be doing some direct observation this week. We also noticed some signs of squirrels on our last Winter Wednesday walk so we will be looking up some information about that too.
Outdoor Hour Challenge

#45 Squirrels

(You may also like to use the Autumn Series Challenge for Squirrels for additional information.) 

1. Read pages 233-237 in the Handbook of Nature Study. Use your highlighter to mark the sections with facts you can share with your children. There are plenty of observation suggestions in Lesson 57 on pages 236 and 237. Keep these ideas in mind as you take your nature walk this week.

“The squirrel’s legs are short because he is essentially a climber rather than a runner; the hips are very strong, which insures his power as a jumper, and his leaps are truly remarkable.”

“The squirrel has two pairs of gnawing teeth which are very long and strong, as in all rodents, and he needs to keep busy gnawing hard things with them, or they will grow so long that he cannot use them at all and will starve to death.”

“During the winter, the red squirrel does not remain at home except in the coldest weather, when he lies cozily with his tail wrapped around him like a fur neck-piece to keep him warm.”
Handbook of Nature Study, pages 234 and 235

Here is an additional fact sheet on squirrels:

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 4-6. Take a few minutes after reading each story to have your child narrate to you some interesting points from the story. Use the illustrations on pages 30, 36, and 41 of the book to get the narration going if they are having trouble getting started.

3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. As you walk, discuss where you might find a squirrel in your neighborhood. Remind your child where a squirrel lives and what it eats. If you know you have a squirrel in your yard or at your local park, take along some nuts or seeds to put out and observe the squirrel eating. Never feed a squirrel by hand. Don’t worry if you cannot observe a squirrel this week. Enjoy your outdoor time and observe any mammals that you come into contact with during your walk.

4. For your nature journal you can write out your observations from your squirrel watching. Use the observation suggestions for ideas to include in your entry: describe the color of the fur, how the eyes are placed, what do the paws look like, how does the squirrel climb up and down a tree, the sound the squirrel makes as he expresses himself, show the tracks that the squirrel makes in the snow. If you did not observe a squirrel, you can use any of the additional resources to include in your nature journal this week.

Would you like a printable notebook page to use along with your squirrel nature study?

Squirrel or Rodent Nature Study


Note this is an Amazon affiliate link to a product that I have used and loved for many,many years.



  1. That’s amazing! We have lots of squirrels still out and about, even in this -2 F weather. Whatever in our left overs that I think they might like I keep out of the compost and put out for them.
    We’ve only done challenges 1 and 2 so far, but I think we might skip ahead to this one.

  2. I’m doing your challenges even though I’m a retired home school mom. I drew a cute rabbit and spotted a couple the other day out in the snow. I love re-reading the Burgess Animal Book again. Thanks for letting me relive my favorite moments of homeschool through your blog.

  3. We loved the squirrel videos! :)

  4. I cannot get your pdf to look like anything but a jumble of characters. What is it supposed to open in?

  5. Hi Kim,

    Are you having trouble with the challenge pdf or the mammal notebook pages?

    Let me know.
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  6. Hi Barb,

    This post came at just the right time for us!!

    We are reading Burgess as part of our AO studies, and read Chapter 5 on Tree Squirrels only yesterday.

    Living in Australia, we don’t have squirrels – in fact we have almost none of the animals described in this lovely book (which is why we’re reading it…who can go through life without knowing what a chipmunk or a squirrel is?)

    Your video clips therefore are just perfect. Thank you for sharing them.


  7. Ok, this one was a CHALLENGE. Where the heck are the squirrels?? I think my dogs have chased them from the yard because there was one last week. Hey, didn’t he know it was the wrong week to appear??

  8. We are coming to the end of the Squirrel family in the Burgess Animal book. We have lots of squirrels here in suburban Cleveland Ohio. They are very active…I really have to look to see what type since we have Gray & Fox Squirrels which are very similar in color. I think we have mostly Gray Squirrels. My 7 yr old daughter just noticed and drew a picture of 2 squirrels she saw on the tree in the backyard. She noticed they both had a diamond shape on the middle of their back…wondering why? I didn’t get to see them.

    Funny story – My neighbor feeds them corn cob – which has almost hit me in the head twice as the squirrels my drop the from the tree tops. Never thought I’d have to worry about flying corn in the city :)

  9. This was GREAT!!! Thnaks for everything!! Be Blessed, Angie in GA

  10. My kids took pictures of the squirrel that was putting on a show in front of our house. They are amazed at how much they see in the still pictures that they miss because the squirrel moves so fast.


  11. So we finally got round to our Squirrel Challenge (and skipped ahead)! We love these critters.

  12. Thanks, Barb! We enjoyed watching the squirrels.

  13. I had to follow up on our Squirrel shenanigans. As I was writing the entry, as I wrote, I heard the owl’s mating call. It is good to be in tune with nature, and to hear these owls singing to one another…

  14. I added to your Mr. Linky. I might have to come back and do it again, once we’ve added more on our blog. :-) We have some notebook pages in progress.

    We really enjoyed the pictures and videos at this site:
    They’re the kind of squirrels that live here. I can’t wait to show my little ones the grey squirrel videos you have, though! They’ll be fascinated.

  15. The video is very entertaining! :)
    Thanks for sharing your ideas.
    My kids printed this coloring page: thecolor.com-pets.

  16. I can’t get the pdf from save.file for some reason. The page opens but there aren’t any files there. Hmmm…can you help?


  17. I have switched all the SaveFile pdfs to Lulu.com. I must have missed changing this link. You can always find the downloads listed on the right sidebar of this blog under the list of challenges.

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  18. I just went and looked. I have not moved the squirrel challenge yet. You are welcome to use the squirrel notebook page listed on my sidebar for now.

    You can find from challenge 46-52 on Lulu.com…

    Hope that helps.

  19. The videos are great!

    Sharing my nature study with the little ones {and other activities we did}.

  20. I didn’t think we would find a thing. I was so excited when we ended up with a terrific study!

    Thanks Barb!


  21. I combined the squirrel study and mammal study. We had a lot of fun today with this challenge!

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