Our Nature Study Exploration Kit
This semester in homeschool science Daniel will be studying Nature. To enhance our curriculum I created for him this Nature Study Exploration Kit. Before I get into the purpose and components of our exploration kit, let me say a few words about his homeschool science curriculum this semester. While I don’t want to get into the weeds of everything I have planned for this study (that’s a topic for another post) however, I want to share my objectives and the main topics we will investigate.
My Kindergarten Nature Study Learning Objectives
- My child will learn that there are many similarities and differences the world around him.
- He will develop a healthy curiosity about the world.
- He will understand the basics of experimentation – forming a theory and testing it.
Topics – I have organized these in a series of questions that we will explore.
- What’s up there?
- What’s over there?
- What’s in there?
- What’s under there?
- What happens when…?
The Contents of the Nature Study Exploration Kit
- A ruler
- A magnifying glass
- A set of test tubes with lids
- A measuring cup
- A set of scales (we use the scales from the Learning Resources..)
- A flashlight
- A Sketch paper pad
- Colored pencils
- Water colors
- A basket
The Purpose of the Nature Study Exploration Kit
You can’t do a nature study without nature walks. Well, you could but it wouldn’t be as effective. However, with our schedule sometimes it can be difficult to plan a nature walk. We spend a fair amount of time waiting on one of the other children to finish their activities. With our Nature Study Exploration Kit we can turn any outing whether it be intentional or unintentional into a nature walk. We just keep it in the back of the car where it is easily accessible whenever we need it. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Example 1 – A Trip to the Park while waiting on Samantha to get out of her theater activities.
Daniel and I spent about 2 hours “exploring” a park in our town. We walked the track with our magnifying glass searching out things that were interesting. With our trusty ruler, we compared sticks to grasses to see which were longer. We gathered rocks and pine cones into the bowls of the scales to determine which was heavier. We gathered samples of soil and flowers in our test tubes and tested to see what would happen when we added water to the tubes. When our energy dipped we got out our water colors and painted pictures of the sky and trees.
During this excursion, we talked about discovery and exploring. We pretended we were detectives like Sherlock Holmes (we are reading The Hound of the Baskervilles at bedtime right now) and searching out clues to tell us about nature.
Example 2 – Waiting in a rainy parking lot for Samantha to finish her driver’s ed class.
Samantha’s driver’s ed class was held in a tiny town nearly 2 hours from our own tiny town. During her driving portion, Daniel and I had the opportunity to sit in the parking lot and wait for her for several hours. We viewed this as an opportunity to get all of our homeschooling out-of-the-way for the day and then the plan was to take a nice walk. However, mother nature had other ideas.
Just as we were finishing the last of our math the storms rolled in. Thunder boomed, lightning flashed and the rain came down. In sheets. Our nature walk idea had effectively been canceled. However, all was not lost.
Bring on the Nature Study Exploration Kit!!
For the next hour, we colored and painted storm clouds and rain. We sang the thunder song and talked about rainbows. We held our test tubes out the window and gathered samples of rain to look at through our magnifying glass. Comparing our samples to the bottles of water on hand we talked about how the water that falls from the sky and the water in our bottles are alike and different. An afternoon of learning and exploration was saved by our handy Nature Study Exploration Kit
A Final Note about Cost
Whenever I see a science kit or kit of any type really cost is forefront in my mind. However, this kit was delightfully inexpensive. The only thing of any real cost was the Learning Resources Baby Bear Balance Set, Weights & Counters. Those cost about $25 on Amazon. However, that one set has so many uses that I could devote an entire another article of the many ways in which we have utilized it. (And who knows, perhaps I may) Everything else – And I do mean Everything Else – came from the dollar tree.
Add all of that up and the entire kit cost about $35. In the short time we’ve had the kit it has already paid for itself in fun and learning.
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