Outdoor Hour Challenge Early Spring Flowers – Crocus, Daffodils, Tulips

Early Spring Flowers Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study Lesson pages 547-555

Make sure to click the link above to read the entire Outdoor Hour Challenge with helpful links, nature study ideas, and suggested follow-up activities.

Don’t forget that you may be able to find a potted crocus, daffodil, or tulip for this study!


I love the suggestions in the original challenge for creating a nature journal.

Journal Suggestions:

  • Sketch the shape of your flower and record the number of petals.
  • Look for the different flower parts: stigma, petal, sepal, anther, stem, leaves. (See page 548, 551 and 554 of the Handbook of Nature Study for diagrams.)
  • Observe the flower’s colors.
  • Describe the stem’s shape and compare it to other flowers.
  • Study and sketch a flower bulb.
  • Watercolor drawings can be made of any of your early spring flowers.

Winter Nature Study ebook @handbookofnaturestudy

Please note this challenge is found in the Winter Series ebook found in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. Log into your membership and scroll down to the ebook download link.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy


Please note this is an Amazon.com affiliate link to a book I own and love!

Nature Observer – January 2019

Nature Journal Project

This month is a fresh start to my nature journaling journey. I’m keeping several different journals as a way to become more of a naturalist specializing in my own habitat. This just feels like it’s the right time.

what is a naturalist button

Although I’m still trying to keep things simple, I’ve created a new routine for recording my daily notes and statistics as a way to reach my Nature Study Goals for 2019.

Daily Notebooks

Every day I create a brief entry in the Naturalist Notebook which is really a five year record of daily details. You can see in the image how there is a very small box for each day running across the page. Then, down the column will be where I fill in information over the next four years. This way you can compare the daily events from year to year. Right now it feels very ambitious but I’ve learned that if you take it one day at a time it isn’t such a huge project.

The second place I’m recording daily information is in this planner/notebook. It has larger spaces for me to include more details or thoughts for each day. I’m still deciding if I like this particular notebook for this purpose, but time will tell if it works for me.

Note: It’s an 18-month calendar and so the first part has been unused. I’m trying to decide if I should just remove the pages or repurpose them in some way.

This entry includes affiliate links to Amazon.com.

Field Notebook

I have yet to make a single record in my field notebook. It’s super cold when I go outside and I usually wear gloves. This makes it hard to take the notebook and pencil out. That’s a pretty bad excuse for not giving this tool a try and I will be working on doing better. Maybe I should wear my fingerless gloves when I go out on my walks.

Personal Nature Journal

This is where I’ve really stepped up my nature journaling game this year. I’ve gone ahead and prepared several introductory pages for the year and then planned a few pages for January ahead of time.

If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be sharing the month’s pages at the end of each month in a video along with an explanation.

winter willow nature journal

Here’s an example of one of my January pages sharing my winter willow observations. You can see that I’ve switched to a larger size page for this year just to switch things up.

river otter nature journal

I have some of the pages planned out, but there’s still room to add in things that spring up during our nature walks like the river otter scampering across the icy river with a fresh fish in his mouth. What a great experience!

Al in all, I think I’ve been successful in getting started with my new routine of nature journaling. It takes a few minutes a day to keep up with the daily notes and maybe 30 minutes or so to create a new nature journal page in my personal journal. With this little effort, I’m loving the feeling of getting to know my habitat better with each passing week. Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges gives me a framework and inspiration to learn something new! This knowledge is not only fun to learn but very encouraging to pass along to my friends and family.

Be Inspired! Be Encouraged! Get Outdoors!

Getting Started with Nature Journals

Do you want some more specific nature journal ideas? Click over to my nature journal page and scroll down for the Once-a-Month Nature Journal Project idea buttons. There’s a lot there to keep you busy!


Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudyThere are many, many nature journal ideas included in the archives of the Handbook of Nature Study newsletters. If you have any level of membership, make sure to download the newsletter index to make finding a topic easy.

Newsletter Index download




Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Small Square


Winter may not seem the best time to start a small square study but it’s not impossible. Someone asked in the original challenge how to complete this study when there’s a lot of snow on the ground and here is my response:

“I know when we have snow we shovel a path from the door to the street. Perhaps extend that path a little out into an area where there is dirt underneath. I would also try to get to an area that’s under a tree, since up next to the tree there’s usually a little space between the snow and the tree trunk.”

One family commented this after completing the Winter Small Square Study:

“We had an hour that we needed to be out of the house, and this seemed like an easy way to dive back into outdoor hour challenges after hibernating most of the winter. Thanks for changing my attitude (once again) about getting outside. This is do-able!”

Winter Small Square Nature Study

Make sure to click the link above to read the entire Outdoor Hour Challenge with helpful links, nature study ideas, and suggested follow-up activities.

Winter Nature Study ebook @handbookofnaturestudy

Please note this challenge is found in the Winter Series ebook, included in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. Log into your membership and scroll down to the ebook download link.

Included in the ebook, there’s a custom notebook page for this challenge.

Have you ever seen the One Small Square books from Donald Silver? I own the whole series and we’ve used them numerous times in our nature study. My boys loved the illustrations and I appreciated the simple activities suggested in each book. Check them out at your local public library or online at Amazon.