Guide children through their adventures in learning with Nature Study for Kids.
Nature study and the study of nature can lay a strong foundation for higher learning both at home and in the classroom.
When children surround themselves with nature, they can’t help but apply the scientific method. They begin to ask questions, observe, experiment, and learn – naturally.
What is Nature Study?
Nature study is the study of nature and everything that exists in the natural world through direct observation and exploration.
As such, nature study includes observing all animals, plants, insects, etc., found outside in the great outdoors.
According to Wikipedia:
The nature study movement (alternatively, Nature Study or nature-study) was a popular education movement in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Nature study attempted to reconcile scientific investigation with spiritual, personal experiences gained from interaction with the natural world. Led by progressive educators and naturalists such as Anna Botsford Comstock, Liberty Hyde Bailey, Louis Agassiz and Wilbur S. Jackman, nature study changed the way science was taught in schools by emphasizing learning from tangible objects, something that was embodied by the movement’s mantra “study nature, not books.” (source)
Charlotte Mason Method of Nature Study
Charlotte Mason is a modern educator that has put together a well-known method of homeschool education for homeschool families that includes a strong emphasis on nature study. As such, she encourages parents to allow children to spend a minimum of 4 to 6 hours per day in nature every single day.
Nature study lays the foundation for science lessons. It’s simple! Go outside with the whole family at least once each week. Give every family member a nature notebook in which to record their observations. Their entries could include pencil sketches, descriptions, watercolor paintings, or chalk drawings. Instruct children to draw what they see, not what they think something should look like. Be sure they label each entry with its name, location, and date observed. Use field guides to help identify children’s findings. (source)
Charlotte Mason believed that every child has an innate interest in nature. The parent’s responsibility is to encourage and invite children to follow their interests in the great outdoors. Otherwise, they can lose the natural desire to study nature as the child matures into adulthood.
A book titled “Hours in the Out-of-Doors” Is an excellent resource for anyone looking for a nature study homeschool curriculum. In addition, it is a beautiful resource for educating children with an emphasis on nature study using Charlotte’s Methods.
The Study of Nature in Education Today
Like Charlotte Mason and the early founders of Nature study, Rudolf Steiner (founder of Waldorf Education) and Dr. Maria Montessori (founder of Montessori Education) also believe that time in nature, nature study, and the study of nature should play a significant role in the education of the whole child.
They also believed that children should spend plenty of unstructured playtime in nature exploring and doing whatever calls their attention, without the interference of an adult or teacher.
These same ideas have caused many outdoor education programs to erupt in the late 19th century and early 20th century, known as nature preschools and forest kindergartens.
Best Nature Study Books and Resources for Parents and Educators
- Handbook of Nature Study
- Home Education
- Hours in the Out-of-Doors
- The Outdoor Life of Children
- Charlotte Mason Companion
- A Pocket Full of Pinecones
- Liberty Hyde Bailey: Essential Agrarian and Environmental Writings
- Last Child in the Woods
- I Love Dirt
- How to Raise a Wild Child
- Play the Forest School Way
- Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens
- Balanced and Barefoot
Fun Nature Study Ideas for Kids
Try any of these nature study ideas for kids. Studying nature is an excellent way for children to learn about the world we live in–naturally! Click on any of the links below to learn more about nature study for kids, and find fun learning ideas you can try in the natural world!
- Best Nature Study Supplies for Kids
- How to Make and Keep a Nature Journal or Notebook
- Forest School Outdoor Learning and Nature Activities
Nature Table Ideas
Creating a nature table in the home is a beautiful way to study nature and the passing seasons. Click on any of the post titles below to learn more about nature tables and how to make one.