We have been doing nature walks here and there, but I recently felt impressed to take it more seriously. Childhood obesity rates and nature deficit disorder motivate me to a degree, but the most important reason is that I want my children to learn from the book of nature. Nature is like a book in which we can “read” about our Creator. Then, of course, there is the issue of health and exercise and spending time outdoors and bonding with natural things.
As I was wondering how to proceed in a more systematic fashion, I received an email from Handbook of Nature Study, a blog I subscribe to and use off and on. I remembered how they have this great membership site now and they offer so much for so little. Plus, they sent a coupon for the summer (the offer ended a few days ago, I think, but I am sure they will offer more coupons as the seasons change, so stay tuned).
I invested in the Ultimate Naturalist Library because I will do these activities if I pay for them. It is human nature. We don’t always appreciate free things. But if we pay for a book, we are probably going to read it. In this case, we are talking about a lot of nature walks and challenges in order to discover our backyard and the different species of flora and fauna around us. It will also motivate us to get outside.
Every season, there are excuses for staying indoors. Summer can be too hot, of course, not to mention the bugs and the bears who seem to be active enough in the National Park to warrant a red-letter warning on the Park’s official website.
So we went through our neighborhood with notebooking pages and observed different species for about 45 minutes. Our efforts were rewarded. Besides the usual flowers and insects, we spotted a new insect and a box turtle.
The insect looks like a glorified dragonfly with black velvety wings and a light blue tail. The box turtle hissed at us when we tried to pick it up. The kids loved looking at it and they counted its claws (four on each leg). We analyzed the differences between its back and its belly. We talked about its having bones on the outside of its body, for protection.
I reminded them that we read about turtles in Nature Lessons the other day. There are many kinds of turtles and they all have the same basic characteristics: two eyes, four legs, a shell etc. But some are small and others are big. Some live in the ocean and others live near rivers. It is the same with people. We all have the same basic characteristics, but we are different in many ways.