Updated: How To Get Started With The Outdoor Hour Challenge


Outdoor Hour button
Step By Step Instructions for the Outdoor Hour Challenge
Updated June 2016
  • Receive my monthly newsletter on the 1st of the month (subscribers to the Handbook of Nature Study blog).
  • In the newsletter, view the printable Planning Page for the four topics for the up-coming month. If the topic is from the archives, I provide the link to the challenge on my blog and the link to the ebook it is from if applicable.This way you can prepare for the challenges ahead of time if you wish. The challenges are going to be topical and not seasonal.
  • If you own the applicable ebooks, you can open those and print the coordinating notebook pages to use during the month. This is not required but would supplement the current month’s work.
  • Print any activities from the newsletter that you wish to complete during the month.
  • Read my blog each Friday for additional supplementary ideas, activities, or printables that coordinate with the month’s topics. Please note that the challenges can be done at any time that is convenient for your family…even months later. For instance, the topic for September is insects but if in November you come across an interesting insect, go ahead and come back to the September challenges and complete them with your November insect.
  • Complete the challenges at your own pace.

Big Picture
The newsletter will focus on a specific topic of study from the Handbook of Nature Study. But, there will always be general ideas for study as well so you will find at least one challenge a month to fit any area, any season, and any age level. During months where the challenges offered fit your family’s interest and habitat, you can complete all four challenges if you desire or if you find that you can’t locate the current topic you may only complete one or two of the more general challenges. I hope that each family will find something to encourage them in their efforts to get outside as a family each month.


Getting Started Cover Button

Resources Needed:

  1. Monthly Newsletter so you have the topic, the challenge ideas ahead of time, and the newsletter printables.***
  2. Handbook of Nature Study book by Anna Botsford Comstock – I recommend the edition with the butterflies on front: Handbook of Nature Study.
  3. Highly recommended: An Ultimate Naturalist Library membership so you will have access to every challenge we cover during the year.
  4. Highly recommend: Nature journal or nature notebook.

Ultimate Naturalist Library @handbookofnaturestudy



  1. REally looking forward to joining in this fall. I’ve been receiving your posts for months and never seemed to have a place to start. Thank you for this post and for the specific instructions. Ha… much needed sometimes! :) Cass @ http://www.theunpluggedfamily.com

  2. I can’t seem to get the August link to work in my email subscription. Is the problem on my end?
    Amanda :)

  3. Amanda

    Have you tried right clicking the link and then “save link as”? If the link is not clickable, you can cut and paste the link to your browser and see if that works.


  4. Hi, I am not sure if this is the place to contact you about this. I ordered the ebook for the 1 hour outdoor challenge for $8.95 and I am not sure how to access it. Could you please help me?

  5. Cassie,
    I need you to email me so we can figure out what happened.
    [email protected]

  6. Thank you for the invite! We’d love to join in (I just need to be intentional and JUST DO IT!). Thanks, Barb!

  7. Hi Barb I bought your getting started ebook on my old PC, now deceased. Is there a way to get a copy for my new computer, perhaps through email? Also, do I understand correctly that the monthly lesson plans will be in the newsletter( I am already a subscriber) and the links for the notebook pgs too? So with that and the handbook, I should be good to go? Thank you!!!

  8. Coastkids,

    You need to email me:
    [email protected]

    The newsletter is much the same as it was before. The four challenges for the month are shared with links to the corresponding challenges on the blog. If you own the ebooks that the notebook pages are in then you have them. I also am giving suggestions on how to use the Getting Started ebook and the notebook pages in that each week.

    Once we get started you will see how easy it all fits together.


  9. Got it! Thanks for the help :)

  10. Barb- I do not blog, but would love to do this with my large family of 6 2 times a month. I already have the Handbook of Nature Book.
    What should I do next?

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