Nature Study supplies for kids – Studying nature is a great way to learn about the world we live in. When children are surrounded by nature they can’t help but apply the scientific method. They begin to ask questions, observe, experiment, and learn – naturally. Give your little naturalist the gift of nature study supplies and materials to help them learn about the world they live in.
This collection of nature study supplies and resources make it fun and easy for children to study the natural world. Having a few useful tools can make it easier to get the kids outside learning and having fun.
Learn about nature study, and gather a few of the nature study materials listed below for your little naturalists to use on their explorations into the natural world.
What is Nature Study?
Learn more about Nature Study on our Nature Study Resource Page.
The Best Nature Study Supplies for Kids
Give your little naturalist the gift of any of these amazing nature study supplies and materials to help them learn about the world they live in–naturally!
1. Nature Field Guides for Kids
I can remember pouring over field guides as a way to study nature when I was a small child even before I learned to read. I can recall looking at all of the pictures of birds, insects, plants, and all of the other beautiful nature pictures and diagrams with keen interest.
One of my first favorite nature study books as a child was Tom Brown’s Field Guide to the Forgotten Wilderness. In it, young readers can learn how to open their eyes to the surprising abundance of natural beauty that can be found right outside the front door in the urban and suburban landscapes of backyards, and local parks.
There are many more amazing field guides available for kids of all ages. All of our other favorite nature study field guide recommendations are placed into areas of study and listed below to make it easy to find what you are looking for.
Bird Nature Study Guides for Kids
- Kids Bird Guide of North America
- Backyard Birds Field Guide for Young Naturalists
- Birds, Nests, and Eggs
Insect Nature Study Field Guides for Kids
Rock and Mineral Nature Study Guides for Kids
- My Book of Rocks and Minerals
- Rocks & Minerals
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals
- Rocks and Minerals of the World: Geology for Kids
Wildflower Field Guides for Kids
- A Field Guide to Wildflowers: Northeastern and North-central North America
- Wildflowers, Blooms & Blossoms
- Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Tree Field Study Guides for Kids
- The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide for Kids: Trees
- Nature All Around: Trees
- Tree Field Guides
- Book of Tree’s | Pacific Northwest Edition
- Book of Tree’s | Pacific Southwest Edition
Animal Books and Animal Tracking Field Study Guides for Kids
- Tracks, Scats, and Signs
- Animal Tracks
- The Clue is in the Poop
- Pocket Guide to Animal Tracks
- Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature Observation
Wild Foraging Plant Identification Guides
One of our favorite nature study activities is wild foraging for edible plants. Wild foraging is an important survival skill to share with children, especially the little naturalists that like to wander off into the great outdoors.
In addition to the field guides listed below, we also like to play Wildcraft. An herbal adventure game that helps children learn to identify and use edible plants and medicine found in nature.
- Edible Wild Plant Identification Guide
- Wild Foraging for Kids
- The Scout’s Guide to Wild Edibles
- Tom Brown’s Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants
- Pacific Northwest Foraging
- Midwest Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Burdock to Wild Peach
- The Foragers Harvest
- Nature’s Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Wild Edible Plants
Wilderness Survival Guides for Children
- Survivor Kid
- Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature and Survival for Children
- The Practical Survivor Guide for Kids
- Ultimate Survivor Guide for Kids
- The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs
2. Magnifying Glass for Kids
Motivate kids to get outside and explore the natural world in greater detail with a magnifying glass. Using a good magnifying glass is essential for taking a closer look at natural items of interest such as rocks, flowers, and insects.
Our daughter loves this magnifying glass for kids. It has a shatterproof real glass lens that makes it easy to study nature up close.
You may also want to gift your little naturalist with a book to learn how to navigate with a compass.
3. Binoculars for Kids
Binoculars are great for observing the natural world around you and getting a closer look at items of interest, such as birds, at a distance.
Our daughter loves her bino’s for backyard birdwatching and takes them with her on explorations into the great outdoors in her nature study backpack.
4. Compass for Kids
Learning how to read and use a compass is a necessary skill for budding nature explorers. As parents, we want to know that our children will always be able to find their way home from their explorations into nature.
5. Nature Journal
A Nature Journal is a place for you and your children to grow your thoughts, feelings, ideas, observations, experiences, and relationship with the natural world.
It is also fun to use a nature journal as a place to create nature art record outdoor activities that you complete each week. For more information check out the article below.
6. Measuring Tape
A measuring tape is a necessary piece of equipment for any nature explorer. I can’t tell you how many times we have pulled ours out to measure something and then note it in our nature journals.
We have discovered that a soft tape measure for sewing is the easiest for children to use outside in nature.
7. Quality Art Supplies for Kids
There is nothing more intimate than sitting down to sketch, or paint, something of interest in your nature journal. This is especially true for young explorers that have not yet learned to read and write. They can color their experience instead!
Nature journals become works of art to cherish for years to come when quality art supplies are included.
- Stockmar Beeswax Stick Crayons – You have never used a crayon until you have experienced the smooth vibrant quality of these 100% beeswax crayons. We keep these in our field bag ready to go. They are also available in block form and in smaller and larger sets.
- Triangular Giant Colored Pencils – These are the colored pencils we use. They have been designed in partnership with Waldorf education and are made non-lacquered wood with a triangular shape that makes it easy for young naturalists to use.
- Assorted Water Colors Field Sketch Set with Brush – This is a fantastic portable set of watercolors complete with a water brush that makes it super easy to create nature art outdoors.
A camera is essential for both taking photos of interesting discoveries, and capturing memories along the way. I recommend giving your child an old digital camera, or cell phone that you no longer use. If you don’t have one, consider one of the camera’s found below.
- Children’s Camera – This inexpensive camera is perfect for young explorers.
- Waterproof Digital Camera – This is a more expensive camera but it is waterproof, shock resistant and dirt, dust, and sand proof. It is perfect for nature explorers young and old and can take quite a beating.
9. Bags, baskets and/or other containers to carry nature study specimens
We are big fans of using a bead organizer for collecting specimens. It’s re-useable and works great because it keeps natural items from getting smashed.
We also carry around a few bags of various kinds for all of those things that just don’t fit or otherwise won’t work. We have also used pencil boxes in our nature study backpack, and pouch pencil cases in our nature journal with great success.
Plastic bottles from the recycle bin can also work if they have a wide enough mouth to collect and study natural materials found in nature. Have a look at this amazing collection of nature-inspired sensory bottles for more information.
10. Field Bag or Backpack for Kids
Having a bag or backpack to put all of your nature study supplies, water, and food is essential. A few of our favorite outdoor backpacks for kids are listed below.
Related: Nature Crafts for Kids and Teens
A few More Nature Study Materials to Consider
Below you will find a few other nature study materials to consider throwing in your field bag or backpack for the next time your naturalist heads out into the great outdoors on an adventure into the wilderness.
- Flashlight and/or a headlamp for kids
- Folding Scissors
- Chemical-free sunblock stick, or sunblock lotion for kids
- Sun hat for kids
- Basic first aid kit
- Swiss army knife (for nature explores that are taught and trusted to handle and use knives safely)
Nature Study for Kids (and their Parents and Educators)
Young explorers will need a few of these nature study materials to begin their explorations. Don’t leave home without them… you never know when your naturalist might run into something in nature to explore and learn about.
If you liked Nature Study, You May Also Like
- Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids
- Best Nature Crafts and Nature Art Activities
- Nature Inspired Sensory Bottles
- DIY Nature Memory Game
- Nature Scavenger Hunt
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the power of the imagination, learning through play, making this world a greener place to live, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…