Summer Nature Study: Something New Every Day

Monarch Butterfly in Garden

“Children are quick. In fifteen minutes, they will have finished with their sight-seeing exercise or imaginary picture painting. Other than that, an occasional discovery that the mother shows them with a name and maybe a dozen words about it at just the right time are all that’s needed; the children will have formed an interest in something they can continue on their own. Just one or two of these discoveries should happen in any given day.”
Charlotte Mason, volume 6 page 78

We spent our fifteen minutes everyday this week outside in our own yard. Here is a short list of the things we noticed and enjoyed from our time outdoors.

  • There were robins in the grass after the sprinklers turned off.
  • For the first time this year, we observed a tattered Monarch butterfly in our garden.
  • Our sunflowers started blooming..some yellow, some orange, some almost brown.
  • We noticed the first blooming morning glories in the front container garden.
  • We saw Painted Lady butterflies and Western Tiger Swallowtails too. There were a few more but we had to pull out the field guide so we can identify them the next time we see them in the garden.
  • The zucchini is blossoming.
  • The Starlings are back and eating the little fruits off the tree on our fence line.Noisy birds.
  • Hummingbirds in the butterfly bushes and the Red Hot Pokers. Amazing to watch.
  • Day lilies, day lilies, day lilies!
  • Big black bees in the lavender…had to cut it back off the walkway.
  • The winds on Tuesday and Wednesday were not cool at all…hot! The breeze on Friday was cool and from a different direction.

Those are just the discoveries we brainstormed as I was typing this up. This informal everyday noticing of nature related subjects taking just a few minutes a day adds such joy to our busy lives. As my boys grow older, I love that we have established this habit of noticing the seasonal changes and the cycle of life in our own backyard. You don’t always need to do lots of talking and follow-up to make nature study meaningful. Sometimes it is just the time spent together and enjoying a moment during your day.

We truly do discovery something every time we make the effort to get outside.

Give it a try! The Outdoor Hour Challenge July Newsletter is going to have suggestions for nature study when it is hot and humid. Make sure to subscribe to this blog for your free copy of it the minute it publishes.

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  1. I really am enjoying your summer Outdoor Hour Challenges. I have to tread carefully with my children when doing these in summer. They don’t want to “do school” right now.

    That said, I am learning a lot, printing pages from your blog so I can work on them with the kids when we are “doing school,” and reading the Handbook of Nature Study pages you recommend. Then, as these subjects come up in the course of our day, I have been able to insert just small snippets of the information into the conversation.

  2. Cristy-
    That sounds wonderful! Just what CM was talking about. Love to hear your experiences.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. hello barb! can’t wait for the july newsletter :) good point about taking 15 minutes. i’ve been trying to do too much . . never even got our tulip study post together! and the pansies we planted in march? still spindly! but growing. ok. 15 minutes a day in july. a challenge i shall rise to!

  4. Oh that CM quote is so true! Just a little bit every day. It doesn’t have to be hard.

    I enjoyed your list and the butterfly and sunflower – beautiful!

  5. This post has inspired me to make the little moments matter and let it all count together towards Nature Study.
    Somehow, with our wet and windy winter weather here, lots of disruptions and several sessions of visitors, we have lost touch with nature all around us.
    Your encouragement is so “do-able”! Thank you … again!

  6. Hi Nadene,

    Yes, just taking a few moments even to find something of interest in your daily world adds up over time to a life of experience to draw from.

    Winters can be long and gray but there are things to note. So glad you were encouraged by my post this morning. :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Outstanding read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little investigation on that.

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