Fall Nature Study

 Fall Nature Study

Fall Nature Study

We love fall in our family! The leaves are turning colors and my house smells of apples and cloves as I bake and diffuse.


One of our favorite activities each season is nature study, and we love observing the change of seasons in our favorite places. We try to take time on every outing to pause at a scenic spot to sketch or play.

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Sometimes getting young children to actually observe nature, requires giving them a craft that involves natural materials. This allows them to slow down enough to actually observe the leaves, bark or feathers that they are supposed to be studying.


One of the resources that we are using this year, is the book, Exploring Nature With Children, by Lynn Seddon. This manual includes activities, book suggestions, an overview of the topic and even poem and art suggestions to go along with the theme of the week. 

We also enjoy collecting leaves on each of our outings and identifying the trees they came from. Our new Tree Guide has been a helpful resource for observing trees and enjoying the fall season.


We have also used the book, Look What I Did With a Leaf for our annual leaf creatures, and one of the girls in our local nature group, made this fabulous horse, using ideas from the book.

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Another family fall tradition that we have is a visit to a place called Apple Hill. We don't live as close as we used to, but purchasing fresh apples and fresh apple donuts is worth the drive. You may have apple orchards or pumpkin patches near you where you can celebrate the changing season.

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We have many free items for your family. Parent guides, children’s activities, printable and book lists to give you a taste of The Peaceful Press Curriculum. Click the button below for access.

A Preschool Guide To Trees

Last spring I shared here on the blog about a tree unit study our family was enjoying at that time and that has blossomed into a very lovely preschool collection. You can read a bit more about that learning unit, the books and the activities I shared HERE, as well as the heart of why I love studying trees with my little ones. 

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Following a similar four week breakdown, this tree unit is broken into four components, which are:

A Tree Begins 

The study of how a tree begins to grow and how to care for a growing tree. Transferring acorns, sorting tree seeds and watering plants are a few activities we do this week.

About A Tree

The study of what makes up a tree and how tree are similar, yet different. This week we measure trees, sort bark, and make leaf prints.

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A Tree is a Home

The study of the habitat that is within and surrounding a tree. We will explore the world of bugs and birds and other tree dwellers in this week of playful learning.

A Tree Gives

A study on some of the ways a tree gives to us. This week we will play with fruit, making a rainbow fruit snack, apple star print, and learn about some of the beautiful gifts the tree generously gives.

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My heart is that as you study trees with your little ones you will see your hearts grow together and your roots in your family deepened. This study has a mix of living books,  simple crafts, directed printables, fun activities and adventure.  You will also find simple food preparation and home skills you can work into the rhythm of your day.

These lessons are created with play in mind, but offer some skills an older preschool or kindergarten student will also enjoy as well. They have been loved by my two year old on the simplest level, engaging for my four year old, while still grabbing the attention of my six year old. We have been testing out and trying all of these activities in preparation to share them with you. And I have been praying over each mama, and each little learner, who reads and journeys through this tree unit. I am here cheering you on as your love and lead your little ones.  

Book List

A Is For Acorn by Analisa Tripp

Because of An Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston

Seeds and Trees by Brandon Walden

The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward

A Tree is Nice by Janice Udry

A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Trees, Leaves, and Bark by Diane Burns

The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown Ups by Gina Ingoglia

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

Going on A Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger

How do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall

Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman

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With Love, Lisa Wilkinson

Instagram.com/tencre8chaos 

You might also like our other post LEARN ABOUT TREES.

 Enjoy this 4 week breakdown of A Preschool Guide to Trees!

Enjoy this 4 week breakdown of A Preschool Guide to Trees!

Gentle Learning With Littles- A Guest Post

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We are in the depths of early childhood. Just past the sleepless nights and constant nursing, but still in the expanse of that sweet age of boundless energy and curiosity that is so fleeting. There was no doubt when we implemented The Peaceful Preschool last year that it would be a perfect fit for our family.

My eldest daughter has always loved books and this gentle, literature based approach was just what our family needed. It brought such a peaceful rhythm to our learning and I am thankful to have been able to begin our homeschooling journey in a peaceful way from the start. Much of homeschooling last year would find us snuggling on the couch or under a tree reading books and then re-enacting the stories, painting with watercolors, and hanging letters on our school room wall with pride and accomplishment. Then outside we went! 

Click For The Peaceful Preschool Book List

Much of our day you can find us outdoors, weather permitting. Exploring the woods next door, walking to a favorite local spring fed stream with friends, and hiking a new trail. So much growth and knowledge can occur when in nature, especially in the early years.  Respect is learned for creatures, gentleness when one finds a butterfly, attention is stretched when observing more and more details of a little lady bug who decides to visit a while. Perseverance and determination are developed when hiking and littles learn that one step taken is one step closer to the goal.  

Need More Ideas For Nature Based Learning? Our Ocean Guide Can Help

We also started tea time, which has been such a blessing! When we are having a hard day, whether it be difficult feelings or just bad attitudes, putting everything aside to sit and have tea has proven countless times to reset our day. We read poems, enjoy tea (in our case apple juice), talk, and giggles are sprinkled throughout. By the time we are done with tea we leave the table with a deeper understanding and love for one another.

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Homeschooling with littles is a bit different this year than it was last year. We are three weeks in with The Playful Pioneers and my youngest, who is two, is showing more and more interest in what we are doing. While at times it can be so tempting to distract and give her something else to do, I have found it more helpful to include her. Toddlers are so curious and what better way to hone in on their desire to learn than to welcome them in with arms wide open. While I’m reading from Farmer Boy my youngest plays with her little wooden barn while my five year old does copy work or works on weaving. The activities in The Playful Pioneers are so easily adaptable between ages, which I love. My toddler is always right in the midst of it and along the way we are learning patience, helpfulness, and forgiveness. And grace, oh so much grace. Easier said than done, but from what I’ve gleaned from seasoned mamas who have been there and have seen the fruits of their labor… it is hard work, but it is so worth it.

Melina Boswell

Click Here For The Playful Pioneers Book List

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Are you in need or reading resources for your young learners? This post contains a few of our favorites.

Math can be fun. This post shares a few resources that can help shape a positive view.

Ocean Themed Learning

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The beach is our favorite place to relax and rest, but it's also a wonderful place to learn and a wonderful place to learn about. The sensory input of waves, sand, and seashells awaken learning in young children and engage their imagination. 

There are so many ways to bring ocean themed learning into our homes, and our new The Peaceful Preschool: Ocean Unit has been created to make the transition from summer fun into fall learning, a playful one. The unit includes developmentally appropriate learning activities to refine large and fine motor skills, phonics and counting skills, and listening skills as your children grow.

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The Ocean Guide includes the same components as our well loved, The Peaceful Preschool, with whimsical, ocean-themed counting, phonics, practical life, and motor skills activities to make learning feel like play.

A Few Favorite Activities From The Guide:

1. Count and sort seashells.

2. Hide cotton ball "sea turtle eggs", in sand. Use tongs to collect and count the eggs.

3. Read ocean themed poetry (included in the guide).

4. Do a crab walk.

5. Make a seashell mobile.

6. Make an octopus craft.

7. Measure and stir salt into water.

8. Fish counting game.

As you do these simple activities with your children, you are building memories, while simultaneously building pathways in the brain that will enable your child to excel in school, and give them the imagination and confidence to help them excel in life.

Do you need help choosing a writing or math curriculum? We share our favorites here and here.


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Learning With The Playful Pioneers-A Guest Post

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Late last summer, just before we were set to start back to schooling our little Miss 6 and Miss 4... I stumbled upon The Peaceful Press. When I researched The Playful Pioneers curriculum and saw that it was based on The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, it spoke to me right away.  I grew up reading this series over and over again and wanted my girls to experience that life changing adventure for themselves.  I loved the appeal of one curriculum for both girls and that our whole family could be included in the activities!

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Our expectations were far exceeded as we have now completed our year with The Playful Pioneers.  Our way of life has changed, a peace has fallen over us...our "school work" has blended so seamlessly with the rest of our day that we don't feel the rush to "get school done" like we used to.  An education happens continually, in every facet of your day...you are always teaching your child even if it is just by your actions or by allowing them the freedom to play or dream. 

Imagine your childhood days filled with handiwork... weaving, sewing, knitting, embroidery...

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Learning about life on the farm, artist studies, and self care.....

Baking fresh simple recipes...

and learning where your food comes from...

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Learning about the world, and nature, and all its gifts...

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S.T.E.M activities, and inventions and advancements,

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and so much more, all with your best friend(s) by your side.

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We loved the freedom this curriculum offered us... we could delve a little deeper into subjects that sparked an interest and we could leave out any activities that didn't fit with our family at that time.  Everything was prepared for us, the materials needed were simple to find and the books were easy to access.

As expected, the girls fell in love with Laura Ingalls and her free-spirit, yet kind heart.  What I didn't expect was the amount of emotion they would feel with each passing chapter.  We discussed topics that I am sure we wouldn't have otherwise...not for years to come at least.  They felt the pain and hardship that continually afflicted the Ingalls family. Yet they noted their positive attitudes and how they always made time for music, laughter and stories together.  I now see these stories and lessons resurface in their play and the way they interact with each other, it has forever changed their hearts.  

I also, as a mother, deeply connected with Laura's dear parents.  I loved the way Pa took the time to stop and explore nature with his daughters, to patiently teach them how and why things needed to be done and most importantly, true acceptance of others.  I also loved the way Ma, although stern at times, taught her daughters to look out for and care for one another, how to be happy with little and the importance of an education.

Somehow we lived and learned more simply this year yet our "harvest" from our studies was so rich, full and completely irreplaceable. I can't thank "The Peaceful Press" enough for this gift!

Sue

www.reachinghappy.com

Ready to transform your learning experience? Click here to order your copy of The Playful Pioneers.

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Learning About Trees- A Guest Post

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As the end of the school year approaches, we often get burned out and I find that it is the perfect time to change things up and create a unit study for us all to enjoy, explore, and learn together. Often, we explore something that has been the topic of recent conversation, but with Arbor Day and Earth Day both falling in April I thought it would be the perfect time for a month long unit study on trees. 

Whenever we plan a unit study, I usually start by breaking it down into a few basic categories (or weeks) of learning. For a study of trees, I broke it into these categories, these will be broken down into daily lessons.

Beginning- The study of the beginning of plants and trees.

Identifying- Becoming aware and informed on the different parts, types, and purposes of trees.

Habitats- Learning about the habitat of a tree, as well as a forest ecosystem.

Exploring and Adopting- Putting our knowledge to work by both adopting a tree we can observe in all seasons and adventuring out to see what we have learned and what we can identif


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We meet together in the mornings, around the table, for family studies. We sip tea, we talk, we ask questions, and we learn together. The baby eats way too much in his high chair as we linger over books and journals, and the preschooler is often kept busy with activities just for her when she is growing tired of sitting and listening.  In this case we pulled out The Peaceful Preschool letter activities that could work well with our theme so she was making similar connections, but in ways that could keep her hands busy and more importantly, keep her included. 

We started our tree unit at the beginning, understanding the importance of the tiniest seeds to the deepest roots. When you begin at the beginning it brings a fuller, easier understanding of why and how. I always want to make sure that we have as many questions answered as possible. We talked about nurture, as well as nature, and how they both play a role in the growth of a plant, as well as in the growth of us. We talked about how we can play a role in the growth of plants and trees, as well as in the growth of those around us. We planted seeds, observed seeds from different trees, and we journaled the seed cycle. 

Resources:

A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Aston

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

Because of An Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer

Next, we began to identify the tree as a whole, as well as each individual part of the tree, the roots, the trunk, the bark, the leaves. And in doing that we discovered how unique and different each tree is, and how they tell stories of their pasts in their growth. It reminded us how we are all left with marks, scars, and evidence of what God has done in our lives, too. And how special and important that is.

Breaking it all down, comparing and contrasting, and spending time poring over living books and field guides, will help us when we are exploring outside, whether a hike in the mountains and forest, or just in the backyard, to make connections with confidence. It will create a more excited and thoughtful explorer, a more eager learner, which is my ultimate goal for a unit study. I am always looking at how the unit study can impact us for future learning. 

Resources: 

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Play the Forest School Way by Peter Houghton and Jane Worroll

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

Trees, Leaves and Bark by Diane Burns

The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown Ups by Gina Ingoglia

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A study of habitat was important to add mindfulness that we are not the only ones that enjoy trees and forests. I pulled out our favorite living books that gave us a fuller picture of life within a log, a tree, and the forest. Creating food chains, playing games, building dioramas, and pulling out our nature journals to make notes of tracks and evidence of life to look for when we head out to explore, all add to our unit study. 

Resources:

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

A Log's Life by Wendy Pfeffer

The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward

In Woods and Forests by Tessa Paul

A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry

Game: Into the Forest

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As we head into Arbor Day and Earth Day, we plan to complete our journey with packing up special arbor themed nature packs and heading out into our backyard, a forest hike, and a local park, to see if we can put together all we learned and test our knowledge. I think the best tests have more to do with seeing it play out as you experience it, and not what you can answer on paper. Lastly, we plan to adopt a tree to visit and observe over the course of a year, season after season. And as we adventure and grow over this year, so will the tree. 

Resources: 

Play the Forest School Way by Peter Houghton and Jane Worroll 

Arbor Day Square by Kathryn O. Galbraith (I highly recommend this if you are studying The Playful Pioneers!) 

Post by Lisa Wilkinson, you can find more of her resources here-

Blog: https://createfor7.blogspot.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/tencre8chaos

You can add more literature and project based learning to your school year with our easy to use parent guides. Each week contains lesson plans, book suggestions, poetry and more, to make learning a joyful experience with your child.

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