Outdoor Hour Challenge: Establish the Habit by Making a Plan

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Week 7 – October 15, 2021

Establish the Habit by Making a Plan

Hopefully by now, dear readers, you have the desire to make nature study a regular part of your family’s lifestyle. You may even have the goal to do some incredible things for nature study.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

In this post you will find some helpful advice and resources for making your goals into a clear plan.

Choose a Plan that Makes Sense for Your Family

There are many ways to go about planning a more formal schedule for nature study. Typically, families plan their nature study either by the month or by the school term (usually 4 terms per year). Either way is easy to do using the nature study planning pages available in the Member’s Library here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Planning a Year of Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Members here on the Handbook of Nature Study have access to a printable set of planning pages that would be helpful to download and save for future use. I will be referencing these pages in this entry.

Monthly Planning Page 1Monthly Topics Plan

This is the first page you can use if you prefer to have monthly nature study topics. I loved the years that we stuck with a topic for a whole month, digging in deeply. The chart at the top of the page gives you some ideas to choose from as you contemplate your seasons and habitat.

Keeping your focus to one broad topic a month gives you plenty of time to study several specific subjects, take a few nature walks with this focus in mind, and then create nature journal entries as a way of following up.

You can glean ideas for specific topics by clicking the tabs at the top of the Handbook of Nature Study website and checking the Ultimate Naturalist Library for additional ideas and printables.

Term Planning Page 3

Seasonal or Term Topics Plan

Some families like to schedule their nature study focus for a complete term or season. The page shown above found in the Outdoor Hour Planning Pages packet allows for a different topic to be planned each term. If you follow the Ambleside Online nature study rotation, this would be the page you could use to plan your year’s topics.


Challenge and Activity Planning Page 2

After you have chosen your topics, either monthly or for a term, you can then use the challenge and activity planning page found in the packet to note specific challenges or ideas that you want to implement during your topical study. In the example shown above, the ideas are what I hoped to study with my children after choosing the topic of trees.

Planning ahead of time will make it more likely that they will happen. You can use ideas from the tabs at the top of the website, suggestions in the newsletter, or ideas found in the printables list.

Planning Monthly Nature Study planning page @handbookofnaturestudy

Here is another sample showing how to break down a month’s nature study ideas using the Outdoor Hour challenge, printables, and newsletters from the Ultimate Naturalist Library.

Customize Your Monthly Nature Study Plans

Think of all the ideas as ingredients. There are many options for your nature study recipe. Pick the ones that suit your family and your taste. Add them to the planner page and use that to remind you of your options for the month. Don’t feel like you need to complete all the things you list on the planner page. But creating the list will make it more likely your family will accomplish something during the month. Celebrate the things you are able to share with your family and look at this as a lifelong journey, taking one month at a time.

  • Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter – Look in the newsletter archives for topics that you may wish to include in your monthly studies. Read through the ideas presented and pick a few to put on your monthly planning page. Make sure to look on the planning page for nature photo ideas, nature table suggestions, and nature journal topics to jot down on your monthly planning page.
  • Ebooks – Once you pick a topic, click the graphic for that topic on the top of the website. You will find all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for that particular topic listed. Next to each topic, the specific ebook will be noted. Download and save the ebook to use for your study. In the ebooks, you will usually find a custom notebook page to use as a follow up.
  • Printables There are many printables in the Ultimate Naturalist Library for every topic you may wish to study. Download and save the printables for your future use.
  • Seasonal Ideas – Use the seasonal ideas from the tab at the top of the website to find one or two seasonal ideas to pick from for your family.
  • Once a Month Nature Journal Idea – Use the ideas in the post to create a nature journal page for any of the items listed above.

Nature Study Goals Planning

I’ve found it hugely helpful to have yearly nature study goals. Each year I pick a few things to focus on as part of my personal nature study. There are families that like to make these goals and record them in their nature journal as a way of keeping themselves accountable.

Nature Study Goals Planning Page

I’ve created a Nature Study Goal Notebook Page for Ultimate Naturalist Members to use for their own personal planning. Make sure to download and save this page for future use.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

If you’re not a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study yet, please consider joining to gain the benefit of having a nature study library at your fingertips. There are numerous resources available for you to help create the habit of nature study within your family.

Please note that the Ultimate Naturalist Library will only be available until 12/31/2021. At that time my website will be shutting down.

 Handbook of Nature Study Subscribe Now 2

If you are an email subscriber to the Handbook of Nature Study, you may consider saving this email in a folder for future reference. The blog will be retiring at the end of the year as well.



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