If you’re like me, it’s always a bit difficult to let go of the autumn season when you know that six (or more) months of cold and snow wait on the other side. When I first set out to create this winter nature study, I researched all I could about the flora and fauna this time of year, and was pleasantly surprised to find that there is SO much going on out there under the dirt, snow and ice.
In tree hollows, burrows and sheltered among the trees, the outdoors is bursting with life – even if it’s a little harder to spot.
This winter we’ll be studying the animals that tuck away for the season, and those that brave it. We’ll be learning about the plants that sleep and those that keep right on producing.
My family and I are looking forward to exploring everything nature has to offer this winter – and we’ll be using the new Winter Journal to help us.
We’ll be taking a deep dive into the following subjects:
The Winter Night Sky
Foraging in the Winter Woods
I hope you and your family are able to get out this winter and do some exploring!
Wow, did we cover a lot this past year! I finally went and sorted through the books my son and I worked our way through for his first grade year.
It made me smile to see all the different subjects we covered – art, music, biographies, history, science, culture… I realized what a rich homeschool year we had, despite the setbacks and shortcomings that inevitably happened.
I’m sharing some of our favorites below, in case you’re looking for something new to add to your shelf (fiction, non-fiction and reference books).
** For reference, we primarily followed Cycle 2 of Classical Conversations, which covered medieval to new-world history, physics, and astronomy, along with Beautiful Feet Book’s Around the World Europe study (with a few others mixed in)**
If you have pre-K or Elementary aged children – I promise these books will not disappoint!
**I’m an affiliate of Amazon, which means every purchase from product links helps keep this website going. I only write about things I’m truly passionate about, and products I actually recommend and use for our family.**
Friends, it’s here! The Pond Guided Nature Journal is in my Etsy shop and ready for your little explorer.
Inside are posters, flash cards, coloring pages and journaling prompts covering 5 different topics (frogs, dragonflies, turtles, aquatic plants, aquatic minibeasts), and I’ve also included ideas for activities, sensory play and a book list.
Here’s a little boredom buster that’s sure to keep the rock-lovers happy in your house. This is a FREE Rock and Mineral Properties Activity Sheet for immediate download. My boys loved testing the rocks from their collection – I hope your kids love it, too!
My boys share a room – and they’ve been collectively asking for a space room for, well, years. So a few weekends ago, we sent the boys away to their grandparents’ house and surprised them with their new space room.
By far, the coolest part of their new room is this Constellations wallpaper from Coloray.
This isn’t traditional wallpaper. This is actually PEEL-AND-STICK wallpaper. That’s right, folks. Slap it up there, and then when they change their minds or change rooms or if we decide to move – it PEELS RIGHT OFF. And, it’s REUSABLE.
(I am talking in all caps because I have spent a month slowly scraping wallpaper off four walls and THIS IS A BIG DEAL.)
So, yes, this is a life-changing home décor product – but, you do need to know how to hang it properly or you are going to get yourself in trouble. Ask me how I know.
**Note – make sure to remove all jewelry before hanging the wallpaper. We noticed our rings made tiny scratch marks when we first started out – so learn from our mistake!**
Step One – Clean and Prime Your Walls
This is the most important step.
I repeat – the most important step!
Wipe your walls down with a wet cloth (because you know if it’s in a kid’s room, it’s going to be covered in all sorts of grime). If the wall is painted with a latex paint (especially a gloss paint), the wallpaper won’t stick properly. Your best bet is to lay a quick coat of primer on the wall and let it dry completely.
Step Two – Remove Baseboards and Outlet/Light Switch Covers
Our baseboards were a bit tricky to remove in one piece, but we were able to get them off without doing any damage.
Step Three – Lay Out the Wallpaper Panels
Carefully lay out your wallpaper panels on the floor (with clean hands). Make sure the design on the edges line up and double check the length of your wall. If you have slightly more length than you need, you may be able to overlap the panels a bit, as long as the designs still match up.
Step Four – Start Hanging
Once you’ve determined your left-to-right panel order, get ready to hang. Starting at the top of the wall (and working in a left-to-right fashion), peel back the first four or so inches of the backing.
(Note: I would NOT recommend peeling the backing on the carpet or bed or any surface that may have dust or hair on it. The first time we did this on the floor, all kinds of little things immediately stuck to the back of the wallpaper and affected its sticking power in those spots.)
Line up the top of the panel with the top of your wall and press it down, making sure it is straight across. Have someone step back and verify that it’s straight. If not, you can peel if off and try again.
Step Five – Work Your Way Down
You’ll want two people for this step – one person to pull the backing off from behind, about a foot at a time, and one to smooth down the paper by pressing from the middle out to the edges. Smooth out all those little creases and bubbles.
If you’re finding that the paper isn’t laying flat, peel it up a bit and try again. Continue smoothing it down, one foot at a time, until you get to the bottom of the wall.
Step Six – Cut Around Outlets and Light Switches
If you run into an outlet or light switch as you’re laying the paper down, make note of where it is and lay the paper right over it.
Then, before you do anything else – GO TURN OFF THE POWER.
Seriously, don’t try to cut the hole out with the switch power on. Use a flashlight if you must for this part (we did).
Using a sharp utility knife or a single edge razor blade, carefully cut a hole as big as the opening in the drywall. The cover will give you some leeway to work with, so don’t worry about it being perfect.
Step Seven – Cut Off the Excess
Once you reach the bottom of the wall, cut off the excess below where the top of your baseboards will be. (You’ll want a little wiggle room.) Then, press really well and voila! You’ve just finished your first panel.
Step Eight – Repeat Steps One Through Seven
Keep following this process with additional panels until you’ve finished your wall.
You may want to run your hands over it once more to smooth out any additional bubbles. If there’s a tricky spot, you can run a blow dryer over it and then try smoothing it out – this works surprisingly well.
Step Nine – Install Your Baseboard
(Or convince your husband to do it thirty minutes before your kids’ bedtime while you get the kids dressed for bed. I mean, he’s a lucky guy.)
That’s it! So much easier than traditional wallpaper – as long as you follow the important preparation steps.
We chose the Constellations pattern, but there are so many beautiful categories to choose from:
The Wild Child’s Nature Journal ~ The Forest is done and up in my Etsy shop.
This project feels a bit like my fourth child, and I hope it’s something that can be a blessing to you and your kiddos.
Inside The Forest, I’ve included 8.5×11 posters, flash cards, coloring pages and journaling prompts for eight fascinating organisms you can find in the forest:
Autumn Leaves Forest Beetles Fungi Conifer Trees Woodpeckers Ferns Forest Animals Moss and Lichen
This guided journal is a great option for those of you who have kids just getting started with nature study and nature journaling. It presents a variety of information on species, nature anatomy and life cycles, while keeping it simple and non-intimidating (is that a word???).
Use it alongside your favorite nature study curriculum, or bring it along on your nature walks.
“We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.” -Charlotte Mason
We bound ours in a pocket folder (minus the flashcards – those hang above our nature table), and when it’s time for nature study we just pull out the folder and it’s all there.
Nature study is something that is really important to our family, and I believe it’s an essential piece of my children’s education.
Please let me know how you like it! And feel free to share your experience with the journal on Instagram by using #journalingthewild ~ I would love to see and share your photos.
The boys and I needed a handcraft to make for the Wild + Free handicraft fair and this was the perfect little project. While I plan on teaching my boys practical handcrafts – like sewing and woodworking – this time I needed something simple enough that my three year old could participate in.
Salt-dough is such a neat medium to work with and very easy to mix up (my favorite recipe is below). We used cookie cutters to cut out the pendants and nature treasures from our nature collection to use as stamps.
Straws work perfectly to make holes for stringing the pendants into necklaces.
Once the pendants were all designed, we let them dry. Air drying is an option, but we were in a bit of a time crunch so we dried ours in the oven. We placed them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and dried them at 200 degrees for an hour on both sides. Then we left them on the counter overnight to completely dry out before painting.
Both of the boys got a paintbrush and some acrylic paint and painted the nature impressions, leaving the rest white. (You can also use watercolors or even crayons)
Once the paint was dry, I went ahead and brushed on a coat of clear polycrylic. Then, the boys strung some colorful beads onto a string and through the hole in the pendants. I tied them off and viola!
These would also make sweet little gifts for Christmas or birthdays.
2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of water
Thoroughly mix the first two ingredients together. Gradually stir in the water bit by bit, until you get a dough-like consistency. Form it into a ball and knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes. (If the dough gets too sticky, add some more flour.) Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness before cutting out the pendants with cookie cutters.