Well I somehow missed your last post that you live in an apartment. Still most of my suggestions you can do if you have access to a park. Even the camping one, often these are offered in city parks routinely. I would recommend you check your local city’s website if they have one and you might find some activities you didn’t even know were offered at local parks and such.
If there are any nearby farms, sometimes they will also hold classes that are very organized and all you have to do is show up and pay the fee and attend with your child. This might be a fun option for you too.
And yes, walks around your neighborhood would be great!!! Maybe keep a nature journal too. This can be at your child’s level and ability. I was just putting away my two 6YO’s nature books from this last year. Oh, what a keepsake! Even they were saying their first drawings from last summer wrere so different from what they are drawing now, but it was fun for them to see how much their nature journaling has improved.
If they wanted words with their drawings, I would write it for them or spell it for them. They just started reading simple words recently, so often they would narrate to me and I would write it for them. Amazing to read what they saw even at 5 and 6 years old!
I just bought 5×7 blank journals for them last year at our local curriculum fair. I used these books this last year. My son had the one with the animal cover and DD had the butterfly cover.
I just wanted to ditto what a lot of others have said…there are some great ideas here from what I skimmed. I don’t consider myself much of a nature person either, but we have slowly eased into it and are finding we enjoy it now. I would suggest keeping it very, very simple at first – do things like take a walk in a park or in your neighborhood and just see what you notice. You could even start by choosing a color or theme and just see what you notice – let’s look for things that are blue, or green (or any other color), let’s look for signs that it is spring (or whatever season). I like to take a camera with me when we walk and then come home and draw things later. If you see something that piques your or your child’s interest and you don’t know what it is, use that as a starting place to use a field guide or the internet to idnetify it. I would also suggest reading some nature-themed story books (such as Outdoor Secrets, or the Thornton Burgess books, or others along those lines) in your read-aloud times. So many times we’ve read about something and then later saw what we read about….that is a great way to build interest too. I think you will find (as I have) that as your interest and knowledge grows, you will feel drawn to doing more. But start very, very simple – I went wrong in the beginning by trying to plan these elaborate projects that we got bogged down in. After you’ve been at it for awhile, you can tackle more projects. We are enjoying the projects in The Handbook of Nature Study blog now (http://handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.fr/), but for me at the beginning these would have been too much. We spent a good year and a half just walking, observing, enjoying, and occasionally drawing and identifying before we felt the need to go deeper (both on account of the ages of my kids and my own lack of knowledge and experience in the outddors).
We are living in a city-apartment right now as well – I have blogged some about our nature study projects there (and hope to do more as time allows in the future) if you want to get an idea how we handle things.
Thank you so much for all responses and encouragments. I learned a lot from all of you. I just want to say I feel so blessed to have all of the replies and helpful informations. The weather was really good today, so after church (of course, I’d rather stayed home!) I took the kids to ride a bike for 2 hours. Wow, so proud of myself !
I will keep trying and asking God for giving me a joyful heart for nature study.
I’m impressed with the 2 hours. Way to go! =)
Another thing I like to do when I am low on enthusiasm for a subject—I do some of it myself. You know, kind of like when kids say they don’t like a food, but if you keep giving it to them and giving it to them, then one day they don’t mind it so much and later, they actually learn to like it? (OK, most kids–two of mine were like this and one was food-averse, he didn’t play by the normal rules!) When I didn’t know or like something, I decided to learn about it. Actually, when we began homeschooling, I brought home all the nature study books I could find at the library–field guides, whatever. And I read them. Then I scheduled an appt. for ME at the nature center. No kids. I wanted to learn for myself. Then I just kept going outside. And going outside. And going outside. And some time later, it became one of my favorite parts of the day. (OK, except when it’s 100 or 30 below). When my son fell in love with snakes—I read books, learned all I could, and picked the thing up. Over and over. Until I loved him. (Then one winter when the power went out, I wore him in a pillowcase underneath my sweatshirt so he wouldn’t freeze–I produce more body heat than skinny son!) I actually detested giving dictation for a long time. Now I’m pretty good at it. Just keep swimming, and it’ll get better and better, you’ll gradually learn, and it’ll become first less onerous, then slowly more pleasant, then you’ll be telling other moms to just go do it! Reward yourself with something if you meet your goal–if you take a nature walk, spend half an hour with a book. Or have a treat. Or a visit with a friend. Or whatever works. We humans like to respond to incentives—so incentivize.
Bookworm, I love how you explain things!
Also do you have the Christian Liberty Nature Readers? I noticed that my kids wanted to go outside and find what we were reading about. It was short and sweet but it made them want to find whatever we were reading about. I just turn them loose to explore. They come back and show me all kinds of bugs and frogs and plants…. Yesterday, We were out and my sons brough home two cecropia moths. They were huge! Of course they were in the container.
The other day I saw a moth walking in the grass. It was a newly hatched moth and had a long rearend. So all I had was one of those cookie trays from “Subway”. We scooped him up and took him home to show the kids. So now they have been using it to put bugs in. Oh we did put a few holes in it so it could breath and let the moisture out.. They were small holes so nothing gets out in the house.
My kids have an aquarium in the back yard. This is their animal sanctuary. We have tons of frogs and toads in it now. (They are breeding!) At least that is what the kids are telling me.
you don’t have to be an outdoor person to pick something up and look at it. Just bring it home. My son looked up the cecropia. It is one beautiful moth. I must admit though I have never saw one before and We have 2!
Happy scavenger Hunting! Blessings!
Thank you moms! I like both book study and scavenger hunt ideas. My kids love to “hunt” small bugs like ant or earthworm by stepping on them. I keep telling them those are good bugs to the earth, but they still doing it. Is it normal to kids? Any suggestion on how to stop them from doing it? Thank you.
Oh, I forgot to ask: I would like to buy magnifing glass for them, but couldn’t find any good one, any suggestion?
You can find good science tools at reasonable prices at http://www.hometrainingtools.com/default.asp .
If you type the words magnifying glass into the search box, you will get several to choose from. I encourage you to browse the entire site to see if there is anything else they have that would help you with nature study. You can also request a printed catalog from them.
Yes, this is normal for kids, chan3mui. Do keep gently reminding them that these critters are useful, and that God created them, and then go look for a couple of libraary books to read to your children about earthworms or ladybugs or whatever. Fiction, nonfiction, picture book–you just want to engender some sympathy for the little critters. If you do happen to catch their sympathy, however, watch out carefully for if you ever inadvertently step on one they’ll protest!
Yes, the more we read, the more we get to know insects. Better than I just keep saying “no” to them!
Now, I need to gather some good tools, boooks, containers, and magnifying glass! I think I’m ready!!!
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