Outdoor Hour Challenge: December World Study Grid 2020

Outdoor Hour Challenge 

December World Study Grid 2020

Winter changes the view of our normal landscape. Where we live in Central Oregon amid the mostly evergreen pine forest, the willows lose their leaves, and we can see far past the river that they grow along.

oaks in winter

I can remember the winter emptiness of a deciduous woods near where we lived in California, how when winter came, we could distinguish the contours of the hills and gullies more clearly.

taylor creek winter snow color

How does your view change in the winter? Look for the colors of the winter landscape and you may be treated with some colorful berries, lichen, and fungi. Is your sky a more vivid blue on a sunny winter day or does it just seem that way?

December World Study Grid 12 2011 Newsletter

Members have a printable December World Study Grid in the December 2011 newsletter found in the Ultimate Naturalist Library. This activity is a perfect way to take a close look at your December World no matter where you live or what your current weather is this week.

December Words

Also, there is a December Words notebook page in the Member’s Library if you wish to complete that instead of or in addition to the December World notebook page.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

To purchase an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, click on over to the Join Us page at any time.

Winter Nature Study ebooks graphic and promo

Don’t forget there are Winter ebooks in the Member’s Library for you to use in your nature study. Feel free to use any of the winter Outdoor Hour Challenges during this season. You can pick and choose the topics that fit your family best.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Nature Study Ideas Index @handbookofnaturestudy

You’ll find all of the winter themed nature study ideas by clicking the Winter tab at the top of the Handbook of Nature Study website. Everyone is welcome to use the ideas found there whether you have a membership or not.


Once a Month Nature Journal Project: Wish List – From the Archives

Once a Month Nature Journal Project

Wish List – From the Archives

Wish: To want, desire, long for, yearn for.

Once a Month Nature Journal Project Wish List @handboofnaturestudy

Wish List-Bucket List-To Do List-Goals

Whatever you want to call it, I am encouraging you to create a list in your nature journal that expresses your nature study hopes and wishes for 2021.

Ideas for your wish list in your nature journal:

  • Make a list of the Outdoor Hour Challenges you would love to complete in the near future. Add it to your nature journal.
  • List places you want to visit: hiking trails, parks, beaches, nature centers, vacation spots.
  • Create a list of birds or other living things you want to study in the coming months.
  • Write a list of topics you want to research at your library or on the internet.
  • Make a list of nature related activities you want your children to experience. Here’s an example of a wish list: Kid’s Nature Bucket List.
  • Make a list of nature photos you would like to take.

Nature journal wish list goals

Creating a wish list not only helps you keep organized and reminds you of things you would like to do, but it will also help you personalize your nature study experiences. Asking your children to create their own nature related wish list in their nature journal will help you to plan your nature study time in a way that helps your children realize their desires.

Complete list of all the Once a Month Nature Journal Project Ideas

Getting Started with Nature Journals

Click over to my Nature Journal page for many more nature journal ideas.



Do You Know 6 Trees?

Do You Know 6 Trees?

From the Newsletter Archives (February 2017)

“Children should also become familiar with trees at an early age. They should pick about six in the winter when the leaves are gone, perhaps an elm, a maple, a beech, etc., and watch them during the year.”
Charlotte Mason, volume 1, page 52

Winter has arrived for most of us and with this season comes the challenge of getting outside to look for things to observe with our children. The trees that are covered in leaves in the summer are now barren and leafless. For many years this was a time that I was unable to determine a tree’s identification. But now with fresh eyes, I have learned to distinguish individual trees by their silhouettes. Each tree has a distinct pattern of growing that makes it even easier to identify during the winter months.

tree cones snow winter

Many of us are surprised to learn that a tree in the thick of winter is not really lifeless. It may appear at first glance to be uninteresting in its winter state. Don’t be fooled! There are many things that we can discover about a tree during this barren season.

  • Start with the tree’s trunk and branches. Stand back and take a good look at the way it grows and where the branches are located. Look at the way each branch grows: up, out, curved, straight?
  • Look at the bark on the tree trunk and try to determine its color, texture, and any distinguishing marks or patterns.
  • Look at the tree’s outline against the winter sky.
  • Look at the tree’s buds. These will be at the tips of the twigs or branches. If all you do is make note of the size, shape, and color of the buds, you’ll have some valuable information about the tree.

Lodgepole pine nature journal

Can you distinguish the difference between neighborhood trees? Start with just two trees and try to make as many comparisons as you can just focusing on the tree silhouette, tree bark, and buds.

When you get home, pull out your tree guide and see if you can use the information you observed to identify your trees. As time goes by, work your way up to six trees as suggested by Charlotte Mason. This can be a long term project that you tackle every winter.

Six Trees Project notebook page

Journey and Ultimate Naturalist Library members have a 6 Trees Project notebook page printable in their libraries. In this simple ongoing project, your child should observe and photograph six different trees and use the notebook pages as a follow up with facts and photos.


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020 

This activity was originally published in the February 2017 newsletter. You can find all of the archived newsletters in your member’s library.

Newsletter Index download

Please note these are Amazon affiliate links to books that I have purchased and used with my family. They are very helpful for any winter tree studies.