Outdoor Hour Challenge #8 – Up Close and Personal in Summer


Outdoor Hour Challenge #8 – Up Close and Personal in Summer

From the Archives and from the Getting Started Ebook

One of the most important aims in offering nature study to our children is to increase their curiosity in the world around them. In our family, every time we got out the magnifying lenses, the kids would immediately be looking for things outside to see up close. The magnifying lens brings your children in close contact with things they might not otherwise notice! Suddenly, they can see tiny insects in detail, pollen on a flower petal, or the texture of bark on a tree.


Summer Nature Study Tip

This Outdoor Hour Challenge is a favorite “go to” activity whether you take the magnifying lens outside or add it to your nature table. Give your children unlimited access to this simple tool and see where their interests take them.

Additional Ideas for Using a Magnifying Lens during Nature Study


5 Ways to Use Your Magnifying Lens in Nature Study: Use the ideas in this entry alongside Outdoor Hour Challenge #8. There’s also a free printable in this entry to use with your magnifying lens!

Rock Study With Magnifying Lens: I love a good rock study and using the magnifying lens will take your investigation a step further! There’s a free printable activity in this entry too!


Getting Started Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook

If you have access to the Getting Started ebook, there’s a custom notebook page that you can use alongside Outdoor Hour Challenge #8 if you wish, or a number of blank pages you can print and use instead.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

The Getting Started ebook is included in all levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study, including the Discover Level.


Benefits by Level graphic August 2018 2 7502

See this page for all of the benefits of membership.

Outdoor Mom – August 2018

Outdoor Mom

August 2018


August wildflowers Oregon

We have pretty much enjoyed a “staycation” this past month as we explored a few new places and found refreshment in just being at HOME. We moved here because we used to vacation here, so why not just stay home, sleep in my own bed and take time to get to know the local area?

Works for us!

We had the added joy of having our daughter home from New York for a little over a week.  We ended up spending a lot of time outdoors doing fun stuff with her and our boys too.

Kayak and Canoe Little Deschutes

The very first day she was here we pulled the kayaks and canoe down to the river behind our house for a good long float. This is the Little Deschutes River, so it’s a slow moving and meandering experience. It was a perfect afternoon and we took a stop midway to swim in the refreshingly clear, cool water.

kayak at sparks lake july 2018

One of my favorite destinations here in Central Oregon is Sparks Lake on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. It’s a long narrow lake with lots of coves along its volcanic rock shore. We paddled all the way to the end and back. The bonus to this lake is the spectacular views of South Sister and Mt. Bachelor.

bbq shed

We’ve been building a shelter for our Traeger smoker out of local materials. We have a friend who has a portable lumber mill and he made us a large beam and live edge siding from trees he had on his property. The paver patio is finished but the structure is still a work in progress. We’ve already spent lots of evenings sitting on the patio watching the moon rise and the stars come out.

Lava River Cave

Our daughter wanted to see the Lava River Cave which is close to our town. It’s a long, dry, volcanic rock cave. You take your own flashlights and explore at your own pace. It was a chilly 42 degrees in there so we all got pretty cold…should have been better prepared!

Float July 2018

My son had some friends up from California and they wanted to float the Deschutes River…a VERY Oregon thing to do. It was a very hot day and the water was COLD. I opted to kayak but they all enjoyed their lazy river float. Ah, to be young!

Floating August 2018

My sister and brother-in-law came for a visit and they wanted to try floating too, but we went on the much warmer Little Deschutes River. Another hot day, another great float down the river!

(Do you see a theme to our summer activities?)


Another activity we’ve been trying to squeeze in each week is to go listen to live music whether it’s here in La Pine, in Sunriver, or up in Bend. This time of year there are lots of options for music so that makes it easy. When my daughter was here, we had dinner at Sunriver and then listened to music out on the lawn behind the lodge….so much fun!


swallowtail on heliotrope

We’ve been working on our backyard landscaping since June and we’re finally seeing it come together. It’s still a challenge to know what the deer will eat and what they leave alone. The night after I took this photo of the heliotrope with the swallowtail on it, the deer ate it down to the roots. It has since grown back but I’m sure they’ll be eager to eat the blooms as soon as it blossoms again.

thunderstorm August 2018

We’ve had a month of hot, dry weather until a few days ago when a thunderstorm rolled in very slowly. I could see it off in the distance when we started our walk down to the river after dinner. You could see the rain but the sun was shining over our heads. Then a rainbow appeared as the light shifted to a pinkish-orange glow. We could hear lots of thunder rumbling. In the end, we didn’t even get a drop of rain because the clouds just sort of dematerialized and blew away. It made for a great show as we had our daily walk.

I’ve slowed down with my hiking this summer because of my arthritis. I’m facing a double hip replacement in the fall….which will put me out of commission for a period of time, but then I’m hoping to be able to hit the trail without pain for the first time in years. My doctor assures me that it will be “rainbows and unicorns” after the surgery and then 4-6 weeks of recovery. I’m nervous about the actual surgery, but the hope of being much more able to get out and do things again motivates me to get it DONE!

OHC Plan 18 to 19 Join Us

The anticipation of surgery inspired me to get a whole year’s worth of nature study planned and up on the blog now. You can see the plan and find out more about a membership in this post:

Outdoor Hour Challenge 2018 – 2019 Plans


Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

Follow me here: Instagram – outdoorhourchallenge. If you’d like me to take a look at one of your images on Instagram, use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge.

Want to join in the Outdoor Mom post?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time this month we went…
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting…
  • I added nature journal pages about…
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • One last image…


Outdoor Hour Challenge #7 – Summer Field Guide

Outdoor Hour Challenge 7 field guide @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge #7 – Create a Summer Field Guide

From the Archives and from the Getting Started Ebook

If you’ve been following along with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Getting Started series this summer, you’ve no doubt enjoyed getting outside each week with your children. Hopefully, there are some nature journal pages in your notebook, recording some of your discoveries. You may have even started a collection after last week’s challenge.

Now, you can use Outdoor Hour Challenge #7 to create a few pages in a custom field guide for your home with birds, wildflowers, or any other area of interest. We started off with birds and the free printable in the archived post linked above.

This is a long term project that your family can work on as you find new topics or interests!


Field Guide Card for Birds

Summer Nature Study Tip

Outdoor Hour Challenge #7 is a perfect summer afternoon activity. Print out a few copies of the bird field guide printable and have each family member tackle a different bird. Take advantage of the hot afternoons to be inside creating your field guide.


Getting Started Ebook New Edition button 2

If you have access to the Getting Started ebook, there’s a custom notebook page that you can use alongside Outdoor Hour Challenge #7 if you wish, or a number of blank pages you can print and use instead.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

The Getting Started ebook is included in all levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study, including the Discover Level.

 OHC Membership Giveaway graphic

Still a little time to enter the giveaway for an Ultimate Naturalist Membership!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


If you would like to purchase a membership, please use this discount code for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership of your own!

Discount Code: NATURE4U

This discount code will expire on 8/18/18.

Benefits by Level graphic August 2018 2 7502