Are you looking for ways to keep your kids busy and entertained, yet still learning this summer? Do you want to make it so that they don’t even realize they are learning? I have some great ideas for you that I will be sharing over the next 8 weeks. Fun, engaging topics that will keep their minds sharp and ready for the new school year. We are going to kick off these summer enrichment ideas with Nature Studies, so get outside with the kids and see what you can find.
Nature Walk– One of our favorite ways to get out and enjoy the great outdoors is to take a nature walk. This can be at a local state park, around the neighborhood or even around your own property. Never done one? They are simple and require no prep at all. Though if you take a few things along it makes it even better. Grab a small backpack, toss in a bottle of water, a snack, and maybe one or two of these items…
Binoculars Like these are a favorite of ours for checking out birds up in the trees, boats out on the lake, and more.
Magnifying Glass– These are ideal for checking out creepy crawlers, leaf veins, and minnows.
The Nature Connection– Ideas and activities to keep you busy outside!
Take Along Guides– One of our favorite nature books in our library this one covers a little bit of everything from bugs to birds, bark, and leaves.
We like to add in small notebook and pencil for bark and leaf rubbings, jotting down notes about things we see, and it also gives us a place to press flowers we find until we can transfer them to a heavier book at home. Stop and take the time to watch busy ants on their hill, turn over rocks, and look up into the trees. Look at this snakeskin we found on a tree trunk on our last walk, it was amazing to see how perfectly intact it was, even down to the eyes!
Raise Butterflies-Another great way to jump into a nature study is by raising observing, attracting, or raising butterflies. We have several milkweed plants in our yard and have been able to bring in caterpillars, keep them supplied with fresh leaves and watch their entire life cycle before releasing the butterflies.
Butterfly Habitat– We have two of these and they are fun for kids and adults alike. They come with a certificate to send off for butterfly larvae then you can watch them grow, make a chrysallis, and finally emerge as a butterfly. We have raised several monarchs
Butterfly Life Cycle– Often, children learn the most through play, these figures give children a chance to handle and investigate the way they might not on real specimens.
Get additional information at Monarchwatch.com on tagging, conservation, Monarch way stations, and more.
Send an SASE to Live monarch and they will send you free seeds to plant your own milkweed seeds, a favorite of Monarchs.
Monarch Butterfly– Read all about the life cycle of monarch butteflies with your child
Butterflies Field Guide– Identify many species of butterflies with beautiful photographs throughout the book.
Looking for more Nature Study Ideas? All you need to do is pick an area of nature that you have an interest in as a family, pick out a couple books to help you research information, and maybe a couple either items to support your theme and you can create your own nature study! Use the library or internet to supplement what you already have on hand.
Here are a few more ideas….
Bird Watching- Backyard Birds
The Ocean- Magic Schoolbus- On the Ocean Floor
Arctic Animals-Arctic Toob