Outdoor Hour Challenge #13 Flower Parts

“The points to be borne in mind are that children like to call things by their names because they are real names, and they also like to use “grownup” names for things; but they do not like to commit to memory names which to them are meaningless.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 456

This challenge will continue our eight week group focus on garden flowers. Please feel free to continue with your own focus if you are in the middle of something your family is enjoying. You can save the garden flower challenges for a future time if you wish.

Our family has found renewed interest in gardening this past week. We continued working on a new section in our butterfly garden and we also planted some new and interesting things in our vegetable garden. Each week I think I know what we will learn or discover with each challenge but then something new comes up and I am pleasantly surprised. There is always something new to learn about.

This week’s challenge seems simple enough and even though we already know the names of the flower parts, I am going to challenge my boys to actually use the correct labels as we spend our time in the garden.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #13
Practicing the Flower Parts

1. Continue with the eight week long focus on garden flowers. Read page 456 in the Handbook of Nature Study-How to Teach the Names of the Parts of a Flower and of the Plant.

“All the names should be taught gradually by constant unemphasized use on the part of the teacher; and if the child does not learn the names naturally then do not make him do it unnaturally.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 456

Here is a link to a diagram that you can print out showing the proper names for the flower parts. This is for you as the parent/nature guide to use to educate yourself on the flower part names. If you start to incorporate these proper labels as you observe your garden flowers, the words will gradually become part of your child’s vocabulary.

2. Take your 10-15 minute outdoor time to look for some garden flowers in your own yard or neighborhood. If you already have some of your own garden flowers blooming, pick one to identify and see if it is listed in the Handbook of Nature Study. Observe your seeds that you planted last week if you did that part of the challenge. Start to use the correct labels for the plant parts that you learned about in step one. If you learn one flower part and use it each week of the focus period, you will know most of the flower parts by the end of that time.

3. Give an opportunity for a nature journal entry. An excellent part of the entry could be the progress that your seeds are making as they start to push out of the soil. Be sure to keep watering your new seedlings as the week goes by. Careful observation with a magnifying lens will open up many interesting things to draw in the journal. If you did not plant seeds or they are not sprouting yet, work on drawing another garden flower in your nature journal.

4. Add to your list of garden flowers that you have planted in your garden or that you have seen during your outdoor time. Check the table of contents for any flower you may be able to read about after you Outdoor Hour time.

5. If you are going to make field guide cards for your garden flowers, add another card this week. If you make one card per week, by the end of this focus period you will have eight cards completed.

This challenge is part of my Garden Flowers ebook. This ebook has ten garden related challenges that will walk you through a study of garden flowers using the Handbook of Nature Study. In addition to the challenges already written, there will be more photos, nature journal examples, book lists, and totally new notebook pages designed to go with each of the Garden Flower Challenges.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

Picking New Garden Flowers-Green Hour Challenge #12

I thought I would share a little of our family’s gardening history in our Outdoor Hour post this week. We have always been a gardening sort of family and the kids have grown up with their hands in the dirt. Each child has had their own garden box and when spring rolls around they get busy planting.

This is my youngest son working in his garden in 2001….that would have made him five years old. I think the look on his face says it all.

This year he has planted a zuchinni, some spinach, and is now going to add some dill and some violoas to his box. He has herbs from last year growing…chives, oregano, and basil I think.

We went to Home Depot to look for some new things and he wanted something colorful and he wanted seeds so we found some on this really big rack of seed packets. He also picked out a pepper called “garden salsa” and this one he wanted as a seedling. I picked up some morning glories after being inspired by Jenn and I also picked out some coleus seeds for my pot on my back deck.

Our nature study this week has been filled with observing each morning the signs of a skunk in our backyard. Here is what it looks like. They make swirly holes looking for grubs and other tasty treats. I am so glad they are doing this in the unlandscaped side of our yard and not in the grass….yet.

Can you believe how busy these guys are looking for things to eat? Here is my son’s drawing for his nature journal of a striped skunk.

We had another relaxed Outdoor Hour week with a little time each day in the garden and observing birds and reptiles in our backyard. We did have one really sad incident. The baby blue jays that we had in a nest near our window were taken by some bird and then the nest was damaged so there are no longer any babies for us to observe. It has been hard on everyone to watch the “circle of life” drama this week.

I hope that everyone else has an enjoyable week for their Outdoor Hour. Remember, you do not have to focus on garden flowers if you are into another focus or you have something else in mind for your family.


Wildflower Walk-Purple Chinese Houses, White Globe Lily, Indian Pink, and More

Trail with poppies-it is a steep hike but very rewarding

It was a family hike day down our near-by trail. We just discovered this trail over the winter and have now been hiking it for the last few months regularly. We are finding that every time we venture down it, we find something new and exciting waiting for us.

This afternoon we found lots of new wildflowers blooming, some familiar and some new to us. We also saw at least three different kinds of butterflies and heard a new bird but never discovered who it was…..shy bird with a lovely call. We need to come back with binoculars and spend some time quietly sitting and waiting with a field guide.

“Everyone should have the privilege of enjoying the natural beauty of the countryside. Such enjoyment is impossible if a relatively small number of people insist on picking and destroying native plants for their own selfish interests.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 460-461

Here are some of the beauties we saw on this particular hike.

Some kind of pea flowering on a vine.

California Indian Pink….showy color and you couldn’t miss it!

Purple Chinese Houses
These are some of my favorite wildflowers. Not only are they purple but they are really big. On this trail they line both sides as you walk the upper part.

White Globe Lily or as we call them Fairy Lanterns. They are also know as Snowdrops, Indian Bells and Satin Bells. Whatever you call them, so pretty.

This is a new flower to us. I love the little purple dot on each petal and the yellow center. The interesting stems and leaves make this unusual shape. They were all over the trail…in the center as well as the edge. I have not identified this wildflower yet….any ideas?

This was so sweet smelling as we hiked along…deer bush, California lilac, or wild lilac. The bees loved it.

This was a wonderful way to spend our Outdoor Hour this weekend. So many families have thanked me for starting the Outdoor Hour Challenges but the reality is that this whole process has blessed me more than you can imagine. I have renewed zeal for finding ways of weaving nature study into our life too. It has been a mutually beneficial experience. :) So thank you to all you families who are participating.