Outdoor Hour Challenge #48 Mammals-Rats and Beavers

Outdoor Hour Challenge
#48 Rats and Beavers

How about some beaver videos to get some interest started for your Outdoor Hour Challenge?

YouTube Video with Beaver Information:

YouTube Video on Beaver Lodges:

YouTube Video: Beavers in the Snow

We found what looks like a beaver lodge on our walk a few days ago. This one isn’t as large as the one that we observed before but it was still exciting to see in real life. If you look closely, you may be able to see where something has been going in and out. It may be that this is an old or abandoned beaver lodge and something else has taken up residence…not sure.

1. Read pages 219-223 in the Handbook of Nature Study. As you read, highlight or underline some facts you can share with your children. Share some interesting facts about the muskrat with your child.

You may wish to share what makes a rodent different than other mammals. Here is a link to read with them about rodents.
What is a Rodent? (information and activity page)

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 12-14. After you read each story, pause and let your child narrate back some facts they learned from the reading. Pages 60, 73, and 79 show illustrations for the animals discussed in this week’s challenge. Use these illustrations if needed to help your child narrate some facts about the animals in this week’s challenge.

3. This week during your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time, look for any mammals in your neighborhood or in a near-by park. Many of us do not have muskrats or beavers in our region but we can still take this opportunity to spend time outdoors with our children. If you are fortunate enough to have access to an area with muskrats, the observation ideas in the Handbook of Nature Study suggest looking for muskrat tracks in the mud along a creek, pond, or marsh. The book also suggests looking to see what kind of mark the muskrat’s tail makes in the mud and snow.

You can also use this week’s walk to use all of your senses. Challenge yourselves to touch, observe, smell, listen, and perhaps even taste something while on your nature walk this week. (Caution your children about tasting anything without asking you first.)

4. For your nature journal you can sketch something you observed during your outdoor time or you can complete a mammal notebook page for the muskrat or the beaver. You may wish to sketch the simple diagram on page 220 showing how a muskrat makes his burrow. You could also do some additional research and find two different kinds of rats to learn about and then record what you learn in your nature journal. Another idea would be to compare and contrast a muskrat and a beaver in your nature journal.

Additional resources for this challenge:

Mammals Notebooking Pages

You may wish to check out this product from NotebookingPages.com. I am an affiliate for this fantastic program and would love for you to see if it is a great fit for your family. We used these pages for many years in our own homeschool.


  1. We were going to join this week but we’ve had sick kids, so we’ll catch up with you next week! Brenda @ http://www.ourlifestyleoflearning.ning.com

  2. Anonymous says:

    I want to thank you. We follow along, in a fashion. Love the inspiration that you provide to keep up with the walks, and notebooks.
    And we will especially enjoy this week.
    The beavers have built a dam, right in the canal behind our home, so it is a good time to study and watch them.
    Thank you again,

  3. I also follow your blog with enthusiasm! I’ve been reading your outdoor hour for almost the whole year. I dream about doing it more than anything else. Love, love, love your ideas, links, photos, everything. Just wanted you to know!

  4. We are planning on joining after Winter Wednesday’s.We just needed to start slow and work our way up,so to speak.The beaver lodge is awesome! They are so interesting! We watched a documentary on them and really enjoyed it.I am tempted to do this challenge just because I like beavers!

  5. Hello! I’ve seen your blog before, but haven’t followed along, because my children are little. I’m passionate about nature study! However, at this age, we’re mostly just doing free exploration outdoors. :-)

    We did see a red squirrel on one of our walks this week, and that was incredibly exciting! (Squirrels are much rarer here in Ukraine than in North America.) I wrote about it here

    If we get to drawing squirrels, would that fit in with what you want in your “Mr. Linky”?

    We did see a muskrat once. I’ll have to remind my oldest about that and tell the story to the younger ones who didn’t see it.

    I love your blog!

  6. We went to a small exhibit at one of the nature centers and look forward to seeing muskrat in our creek this spring. We’re sure they must live there!

  7. Hi, I wanted to let you know how much I love your site. It is a tremendous blessing to have discovered it. I’ve been dusting my copy of “The Handbook of Nature Study” for years because I could not find a good way to utilize it. Plus, I believe the size is a bit daunting.

    I have been following your Outdoor Hour Challenge for several months without implementing your suggetions yet. Our plan is to begin the challenge once spring arrives and I am most appreciative to have it as a guide.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    [email protected]


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