Fun Things - Field Trips, Games, Creative Ideas, Tips for Homeschooling Mamas

Noticing Nature – September

I am excited to bring a new series to my blog! Noticing Nature is just that. Geared toward teens, the goal of this series is to simply look and notice the world around you, wherever you are!

I have vivid memories of a bad case of poison oak as a little girl. I don’t remember the itching as much as I remember how I got it. My dad showed me how to make a circle with my fingers, lay a leaf on top of my circled fingers, and with the other hand give it a hard, even slap! It makes a loud popping noise, and would only work if your hand was just right. I was so proud of my new found talent, pulling leaves off trees and popping them for months to follow. And of course, you know where this is going – that’s how I got poison oak.

I’ve always enjoyed being outside and taking walks in the woods. I should have paid more attention to leaves that were poisonous when I was younger! I want my teenage kids to continue to love the outdoors as much as I do. We currently have a small group of homeschooling friends that we’ve enjoyed short hikes with over the past several years.

I remember a few short years ago, the kids and I used to do scavenger hunts, leaf art, and other crafts related to things we saw on our walks. While I may never get tired of making coffee filter butterflies, my teens have. Our walks are different now. They are growing up, and not everything needs a unit study and a craft (well, maybe a just one simple craft). But, I do want to them to see and appreciate what’s going on in the great outdoors.

Are they noticing?

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I purchased a book this summer, The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs. I thumbed through, and saw things that I never knew. I’m sure most of this information was common knowledge just a generation or two ago. Unfortunately, our society has gotten lost in electronics and other distractions in our fast paced lives to notice the awesome world around us. I want more for myself and my kids. I want to know what my grandparents knew about nature.

In my quest to find occasional activities they would enjoy, I came up short. Many resources seemed too much like preschool, or the other extreme of a semi-professional naturalist, complete with artistic drawings and pages of field notes. I pulled together a few resources I had, choosing small bits of information, a teen-friendly activity or two, and a simple list of things to notice when we are outside each month.

Things to look for in September

The following list is a few small things to take notice of. Use any of the links as a jumping off point for further study if you so choose. There’s also a free printable of the list at the end of this post!

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of things to notice in nature, I hope it will give you and your teens a good starting point for taking notice of the things outside and what’s going on in the world around them. This is the first in what I hope to be a great series, and I’m learning as I go. My goal is to perhaps spark an interest in the great outdoors, and give teens an opportunity that often gets overlooked with their other academic studies. Some of my ideas came from The Kids Nature Book, and The Nature Connection. Be sure to check out my Pinterest Board – Let’s Get Outside in Nature for even more ideas. If you would like this list in a free, pretty printable, it’s just below!

9 thoughts on “Noticing Nature – September”

  1. Love your ideas! It’s too bad that the common knowledge things about nature being far less commonly known. We live in a rural area, with woods and streams very close by, but we still need to be intentional about going for a walk in the woods or it doesn’t happen.

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