Nature was in the beginning and nature is a constant that provides us as people with nourishment, a sense of depth and vastness, and an abounding beauty that encircles us. It only makes sense that, while educating our children, nature takes center stage and is a part of the learning process.
When we teach, we use experiences to make the learning long-lasting and we tap into each of our five senses to truly experience our natural world. With our sight, smell, touch, hearing, and tastes, we are able to explore, differentiate, define, and discover.
This is why NATURE is one of the seven key elements in our WonderHere Family-Style Curriculum. Nature studies give children the chance to truly enjoy nature and make connections with their studies and the outdoors. These opportunities occur weekly within each unit of study in our curriculum, and are a life-giving source of memory-making for your family again and again. That means six Nature Study activities per unit! Here are some examples of Nature Studies found throughout the five units of our Series One Curriculum:
Unit: Anatomy / Topic: Digestive System
Activity: How Birds Eat. Directions: Set up a bird feeder in your yard and observe how birds eat. How are their beaks designed to help them eat the food you set out? Do some research on the digestive system of a bird. Write about your experience in a notebook or journal.
Unit: Liberty & Justice for All / Topic: Civil Rights
Activity: Take a Walk Directions: Skip the car and walk the distance to a place you need to go. Along this journey, think about the Bus Boycotts of Montgomery and reflect on the significance.
Unit: Earth & Space / Topic: Layers of the Earth
Activity: Make a Terrarium. Directions: Get your hands in the earth to gather items and make your very own Terrarium! The word “terrarium” comes from the root word terra meaning land and the suffix arium, usually denoting a place. Use this Terrarium Diagram and Directions Guide to help you! Keep track of your plant’s growth and health in a notebook or journal!
Unit: Energy / Topic: Sound Energy
Activity: Blindfolded Outdoor Sound Investigation. Directions: Sound is all around us! Explore your neighborhood in a new way by employing your ears to do the “seeing” for you! Using a scrap of fabric for a blindfold and a friend or family member to guide you about, sit outside quietly and listen for 5-10 minutes. What do you hear? What do you notice? What about volume and pitch? Once you are through, journal about the experience.
Unit: Geography / Topic: Europe
Activity: Monet-Inspired Art in Nature. Directions: Go outside to observe nature and paint a Monet-inspired piece of artwork! Ask your child if there is a specific place they have in mind that they would like to create this piece of work. Would they prefer to have water, trees, fields, or flowers in their artwork? Also, ask your child if there is a particular type of weather that they would like to paint. Would they like the weather to be sunny, cloudy, windy, or rainy? Enjoy this special time together in the outdoors.
Unit: Native American History / Topic: The Native People
- Activity: Storytelling Stones. Directions: Go outdoors and collect smooth stones to use as your Storytelling Stones. Then, using the Native American Symbols Chart, paint symbols on your Storytelling Stones! Use the stones to tell stories to friends and family members.
Relish these opportunities, however big or small, and set aside intentional time consistently to get outside, breathe in deep the natural air, and rest under the big open sky. This is time well spent. Check out more information on our Family-Style Curriculum and grab some samples here! We’re always here to answer your questions… don’t hesitate to reach out!