Thursday, 8 March 2018

February Nature Studies

If you have read about our homeschool curriculum or follow my instagram account, you will know we are following a nature curriculum this year called 'Exploring Nature With Children'. It is a wonderful curriculum that covers different topics each week of the year. For each week, there are activities to do, recommended reading, poetry and a piece of art to study. The curriculum incorporates science, English, art and nature studies so it is really varied. You can check out the curriculum here.

This month the weather had been so cold! I think it has gotten colder and colder and we even had snow a few days ago! I am really looking forward to springtime and hope it brings some warmer weather!

Here is what we got up to this month.

Week 1 - Candlemas

The month started off with Candlemas, a Christian festival commemorating Jesus' presentation at the temple. We do not celebrate this day but wanted to try candle making as suggested in the ENWC curriculum. This was something we have never done before but I thought the children would enjoy it. I was not wrong. I purchased a candle making starter kit from Amazon and the children had great fun making candles.

They seem to have a fascination with candles lately and enjoy lighting them at certain times throughout the day, such as story teatime or during dinner. We have made candles a few times since then and I will be purchasing more candle moulds and equipment soon to experiment with different shapes, smells and colours.

Candlemas is also the time when the first snowdrops begin to appear. We went on a nature walk to see if we could spot any. Sure enough, we did spot some. It is wonderful to see flowers beginning to appear, along with other signs of spring.

We also learnt the traditional poem associated with Candlemas that aims to predict the weather for the coming month.

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another fight,
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter will not come again.

As you can see from the pictures above, Candlemas Day was bright and fair. We monitored the weather over the month and it was indeed very cold at the start of the month, warming up in the middle of the month and then getting colder again. In fact, it was so cold at the beginning of March that we had snow, the most snow I think we have ever seen in this country!

The children had so much fun playing in the snow!

Week 2 -Worms

Week two was worm week and I was really looking forward to learning about worms with the children as I knew they would love it. We started off by making a wormery. We got a glass jar and put some pebbles at the bottom. Then the children layered it with soil and sand, placing a layer of leaves in the middle. Finally, they got digging to find worms to place in it. 

We observed the worms over a couple of days and watched how they churned up the soil. The children kept a worm observation diary in which they recorded their observations. We also used the Worm Day Freebie Pack  (some of the printables are shown in the picture above) to learn about worms.

I thought worms would be a good sensory play idea for my toddler so I created a sensory play set up with some spaghetti as the worms. I made some edible mud by making up a couple of packets of Chocolate Angel Delight pudding. K had great fun playing with this and enjoyed eating it too! It's great to use edible things for sensory play as you don't have to worry if little ones eat it!

Here are some of the books we enjoyed reading this week.


The children enjoyed the worm topic so much that we ended up studying worms for two weeks. Therefore, we did not get round to studying trees during the third week of February. I think it is important to follow your children's interests and I feel lucky we can do this as homeschoolers.

Week 4 - Field Trip

The final week of February was field trip week so we took a trip to a local place of interest; Chew Valley Lake. Chew Valley Lake is a beautiful nature spot which is home to many different species of birds and other wildlife.

There are useful signs dotted around which tell you about all the different species of birds which can be found there. We spotted a few different species of ducks and seagulls as well as swans. The children enjoyed looking for the different types of birds.

We went for a walk around the lake and enjoyed the tranquillity of the place. It was a calm and bright day and we stayed for hours walking, climbing trees, playing in the park and enjoying the views. 

I took the nature journals and paints but the children were too busy playing to want to paint there and then. Therefore, I took some photographs to try and paint at home. We decided to paint the above picture and below are the results. The top left was done by me and the bottom right was painted by my 8 year old daughter. I am not used to painting landscapes as I usually only paint plants and animals. It was good to try something new.

We have had a lot of fun with nature studies this month and have enjoyed spending more time outdoors. I am really looking forward to the topics we will be covering in March. To take a look at the curriculum you can use the links below.

Have you been following this curriculum? What activities did you do during February?                                                

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