Make sure you have these nature study supplies around for your kids to use on their explorations into nature. Studying nature is one of the best ways 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.
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Top 10 Nature Study Supplies
1. Field Guides
I can remember pouring over field guides 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, etc, with keen interest.
There are so many amazing field guides available for kids of all ages these days. I recommend going to your local library and/or bookstore to look at the one’s that will work best for your needs. Below you will find a few options to consider.
- National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America and/or Backyard Birds Field Guide for Young Naturalists
- Peterson First Guide to Insects of North America and/or Insects (National Audubon Society’s First Field Guides)
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals (Smithsonian Handbooks) and/or Rocks and Minerals of the World :Geology for Kids
- A Field Guide to Wildflowers: Northeastern and North-central North America (Peterson Field Guides) and/or Wildflowers, Blooms & Blossoms (Take Along Guides)
- Fandex Family Field Guides: Trees and/or Book of Tree’s | Pacific Northwest Edition | Children’s Forrest and Tree Books and/or Book of Tree’s | Pacific Southwest Edition | Children’s Forrest and Tree Books
Binoculars are great for observing the world around you and getting a closer look at things at a distance.
- BARSKA 10×25 Compact Waterproof Binocular — As professional ocean lifeguards my husband and I know an excellent pair of bino’s when we see them. We got these waterproof durable kids pair for our daughter. She loves them and takes them with her everywhere.
3. Magnifying Glass
A magnifying glass is essential for taking a closer look at things of interest such as rocks, flowers and insects.
- Carson BigEye Magnifier with Over-sized 5-Inch Lens – My daughter loves this magnifying glass. It has a huge acrylic lens that really works.
Learning how to read and use a compass is a necessary skill for budding nature explorers. As parents we want to know that they will always be able to find their way home.
- ColemanCompass with LED Light – This is a simple and inexpensive compass perfect for kids.
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. You can also use it to record outdoor activities that you complete each week. For more information check out How to Create a Nature Journal.
6. Measuring Tape
A measuring tape is a necessary piece of equipment for any 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.
- Clover “Shiro” Tape Measure – We have found that soft sewing tape measures are the easiest to work with in nature.
7. Quality Art Supplies
There is nothing more intimate than sitting down to sketch 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, Set of 16 – 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.
- Assorted Water Colors Field Sketch Set with Brush – This is a fantastic high-quality portable set of water colors.
A camera is essential for both taking photos of interesting discoveries, and capturing memories along the way. I recommend giving your child an older digital camera that you no longer use. If you don’t have one, consider one of the camera’s found below.
- VTech Kidizoom Camera Connect – This inexpensive camera is perfect for young explorers.
- Olympus TG-860 Tough Waterproof Digital Camera – This is a more expensive camera but it is both waterproof and shock resistant. It is perfect for older explorers and can take quite a beating. My husband and I had one for years that we could not believed still worked after all we put it through. It is our daughters now. 🙂
9. Bags, baskets and/or other containers to carry specimens
I am a big fan of using a bead organizer for collecting specimens. It’s re-useable and works great because it keeps items from getting smashed. We also carry around a few bags of various kinds for those things that just don’t fit or otherwise won’t work. We have also used pencil cases of various kinds with great success.
10. Field Bag or Backpack
Having a bag or backpack to throw all of your nature study supplies, water and food in is essential. Below I provide a few options to buy or DIY
- Buy – Childrens Backpack For school hiking camping Mini Small Backpack
- Buy – #1 Rated Most Durable Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Backpack Daypack
- DIY – Nature Explorer Bag from Chez Beeper Bebe
- DIY – Nature Explorer Bag from The Crafty Kitty
Other items to consider:
Below you will find a few other items to consider throwing in your field bag or backpack the next time you head out on an adventure.
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Folding Scissors
- Basic first aid kit
- Swiss army knife (for older explores trusted to handle carefully)
And of course, please don’t forget water and a snack if you plan to go further than your own backyard.
Young explorers will need these top 10 nature study supplies to begin their explorations. Don’t leave home without them… you never know when you might run into something to explore and learn about.
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