Summer is a wonderful time to spend time with your children outside. Use these activities to draw their attention to the sights of the season. Summer nature study is difficult in many places in the world where the summer heat drives us inside. There are plenty of ways to continue your nature study from the comfort of the AC.
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9 Summer Nature Study Ideas You Can Do Indoors
1. Read Summer Poetry
Many well-respected poets were naturalists. Read the work of some of the great poets and soak in their immense love and respect for nature.
- Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare
- A Summer’s Night by Paul Lawrence Dunbar
- As Imperceptibly as Grief by Emily Dickenson
- Bedtime In Summer by Shirley Hughes
Poetry time outdoors at daybreak is another great option if weather permits.
2. Read Summer Books
There are plenty of beautiful stories to read about summertime from the comfort of your sofa. Spend the summer days exploring the world of Alfie in Shirley Hughes books. They make magic of ordinary life and my children enjoy reading them again and again.
We also found a treasure in McBroom’s Ear, a hilarious story about a scorching summer and incredibly rich farm soil.
3. Start Seeds
Garden or no garden, starting seeds indoors is a great way to learn about the life cycle of plants.
You can do the traditional lima beans in a Ziploc experiment and sketch the root pattern in those nature notebooks or start a whole bunch to sell at the farmer’s market or give as gifts to friends.
4. Dissect a Watermelon
Nothing speaks of summer like watermelon, but have you ever explored it closely? Take a big slice and observe all you can about this seasonal fruit. What do you see in the white part of the watermelon? Why do you think it’s there?
Sitting on the porch spitting seeds into the yard is a great end to a summer day.
5. Learn Songs
Summer folk songs are another way to learn about nature without leaving home. Traditional songs often speak of the changing of seasons, the growth cycle of plants, or the interaction of humans and the environment.
These songs make great copywork and they are great tools for learning more about the world around you.
- “A Time for Us To Wander”
- “Little Bird”
- “You Are My Sunshine”
All these songs draw our attention to the bright world of summer.
6. Sketch Houseplants
Nature study is about noticing patterns and connections. You can observe plants indoors as well as outdoors.
Pull out your best watercolors or colored pencils and sketch your indoor plants.
If you do not have indoor plants, start some from seed. Sketching the plant once a week will result in a beautiful series of pictures.
7. Identify Birds
My small backyard is full of birds this summer and last year we saw two blue jays nesting high in a tree.
Grab a copy of Bird Bingo and start learning the names of your native birds.
I will never forget the first time my child identified a bird correctly without being prompted, I felt like the best homeschool mom in the world.
8. Display Treasures
All the beautiful rocks, shells, gems, and sticks collected throughout the year deserve to be displayed.
Take some time to assemble or build a display shelf for all the nature study finds for the day.
Spend time talking about each item, what you know about it, and where you found it. If any items have not been included in the Nature Notebook, you can take the time to sketch those now.
9. Hone Watercolor Skills
Summer is a good time to take a watercolor class.
Find a local community center, library, or private tutor to focus on learning new techniques to incorporate into your watercolors.
Charlotte had all her students do brush drawing and watercolor painting and this habit can become a lifelong hobby for your children.
Nature Study Benefits In Summer
Many families take an easier academic load in summer, making this a perfect time to center your learning on nature.
You will notice things like frogs growing into tadpoles, trees putting out their full leaves, and bees busily making honey with all the flowering plants opening their blossoms.
As weather permits, summer is a prime time to learn your native trees because they are easiest to identify by their leaves in many cases.
If you plan to take an easy summer, make nature study a part of your plan.