Nature Study: Indoors
Nature study is a beautiful time to be outdoors with our children. Collecting leaves, seeds, pinecones, and finding neat animal tracks is priceless. But what about those days when the wind and rain keeps us indoors? Or when our child has a cold and needs to stay inside? It’s easy to just say-forget nature study-for the day, but when the snow persists or the sniffles persist, it’s good to have some alternatives to doing nature study indoors.
Take photos from indoors
A lot of great nature captures are done from a place where you won’t disturb little animals or birds: indoors! Set up a cozy spot by a window and get your camera with a zoom lens handy. If you can find a comfortable spot looking out at a bird feeder, that’s even better. Take some pictures of the leaves blowing, the snow falling, birds on the feeder, squirrels gathering nuts, or bees buzzing and print them off to add to your nature journal.
A book my kids love is The Secret Life of Squirrels. This is a great book for indoor nature study. The author, Nancy Rose, has set up wonderful little sets for the squirrels in her yard to explore. She sets up her camera indoors and waits for the right moment. At the end of the book she gives some great tips for nature photography.
Inspect your previously collected nature finds
Pick up some of the older items you’ve collected in your outdoor nature studies. Inspect them with a magnifying glass. If you aren’t sure what some specimens are, look them up in your nature guides. Take some time to label them before you put them back on your nature shelf.
Read nature stories
There are so many wonderfully written and illustrated children’s books to incorporate in your nature study and what better time to enjoy them then when you’re stuck indoors. This is a great list to get you started collecting your own nature books. Another series that we love is Nature Readers by Christian Liberty Press.
Set up a nature table
If you don’t already have one, setting up a nature table is perfect for keeping all your nature finds in one spot and showing them off. You can keep your journals here, nature guides, nature finds, and more all in one spot.
Sketch in your nature journals
Sketching in your nature journals outdoors is great, but sometimes being back inside without any outdoor distractions is even better. Take some time to add some watercolors to your journal drawings or practice your drawing skills on new pages. It might be a great idea to copy a nature related poem into your journals and add some pretty borders to them. If you are looking for some extra inspiration, you could even check out other nature journals on the web and add new things to yours.
Take this time while you’re indoors to do some nature projects you’ve been itching to do. There are some great books out there with nothing but nature crafts. Think out of the box here and be creative with ways you could enjoy nature through art inside your house. Here’s some ideas to get you started:
- Press leaves and make a garland from them
- Preserve fall leaves by dipping them in wax or covering in contact paper
- Make furniture for your gnome home or fairy garden with things found in your recycling bin
- Paint some acorns you’ve already collected
- Hang pinecones on a string to make a garland
- Use chalk pastels to create are to accompany a poem
- Make some garden flags for your garden when it gets warmer
- Make natural dye with black walnuts–we loved this one!
Just remember that no matter the weather, there’s always something you can do to incorporate nature study into your days. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Have items on hand that you’ll use indoors to make things easier on yourself and enjoy!
Alicia Hutchinson is a homeschool mom to four kids ages 13-2. You can find her blogging at www.aliciahutchinson.com, where she writes about homeschooling, motherhood, creative living, and more. She lives in the Minneapolis area with her family.
Autumn Sign Ups are now CLOSED! – Follow along for updates on our next round!
Well here we are with a fresh new season upon us! You may have Pumpkin Spice Lattes, apple pie, flannel shirts, and hayrides on your mind, but we have something else for you to add to your Autumn Bucket List!
We are so excited to announce that sign-ups for Nature Pal Exchange’s next round are now OPEN!!! We have 500 spots available and they fill up quick, so visit our About page to get the skinny on how it all works.
Before you fill out the registration form, we ask that you please make the required $5 donation to Elpis Ministries. We are so excited to partner with this amazing ministry and encourage you to visit their website to learn more about how they’re helping children in Uganda! All funds donated go directly to Elpis and are non-refundable.
Sign up here: REGISTRATION FORM
Sign-ups will be open until October 2nd or until we reach the 500 participant cut-off. You must have your box in the mail no later than November 2nd! If you think this deadline will be a problem, we ask that you please skip this round and wait for the next one! We hate to hear that a partner didn’t come through. Everyone puts so much work and time into their box, and it is not fair to be left without a box in return!
We are only open to families (U.S. & Canadian residents only) with children living at home. Remember this is an educational program geared towards families exploring and “meeting” new friends who live in another part of the country! As fun as it may seem for a class/teacher to sign up we ask that you do not. A great alternative would be to encourage your students to bring in a special item from nature and set up a nature table in your own classroom!
If you’re not too sure on what to send be sure to visit #naturepalexchange on instagram to get some fun inspiration! Remember the more creative the better!
Once sign-ups close, we ask that you are patient with us and give us about 2 weeks to get your pal information emailed to you! As soon as you get their information, we encourage you to introduce yourself via instagram or email! The more you put into this exchange, the more you and your littles will get out of it! 🙂
Christy, Alison, Andi, Shannon