Just thought I'd share my approach this year regarding our nature study. (I've really been taken with the Charlotte Mason approach) I promised myself this year that I would really delve in and explore nature as a family. I have had a lot of fun putting together the children's natures kits. Ideas found from the internet and then I put my twist on it! Some of you expressed an interest in what these kits look like, so here they are:
Egg cartons - free
covered in crafting paper from around the house - basically free
Journals (from the $$ store) - $5.00
Labels (my own creation, a bit of computer ink ☺) - virtually free
Pencil crayons ($$ store) - $3.75
Crayons (for Linden, and they were a gift) - free
Cute waterproof bag to carry our kits around while on our walks - $1.25
So now the children have kits that they can take along when we go on our nature walks or when we go on walks as a family! We will explore our finds once we get home, do more sketching, item identification and of course sign out lots and lots of books from the library (also free)!
(**note picture does not include Grace's pencil crayons or Linden's journal.. clearly I did not drink enough coffee that day and bought two short of each item!... back to the $$ store!)
I was also able to find a little shelf on kijji to house all our nature items. (This little shelf actually has a duel purpose.. the top shelf will also be the home to the books that I would like to see Ava read or books we will read aloud throughout the year. I've taken great care in choosing these books to ensure they are both at her reading level and the areas that she has shown interest in).
I thought it would be fun to use this over sized mason jar as a sort of display cabinet. The children can rotate through there favorite finds and keep them in the jar, for either each other to view or visitors. Hopefully this idea works.. and my littlest one doesn't just walk away with it :)
Finally above are just a few of our own resources that we will be able to use. These books were either gifts or handed down to us (The Fossil Collection. & The Little Guides Flowers) An Audubon Handbook of Eastern Birds was actually owned by my husband, and used when he was a child. I likely won't actively go out and build our nature book collection, instead make use of our local library and have the children research our items that way. Of course we will be using the internet as well.
We are really excited to explore this "subject" together (the kids thought it was Christmas when they saw the wrapped egg cartons)! I hope this gives you all some inspiration and insight into what we are doing. And to encourage you all that what we do with our children doesn't have to cost a whole lot, but can be fun, educational and in the meantime experience some really great quality family time ☺