“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” Albert Einstein
A large part of our homeschooling journey has involved being outside in nature! My children love to explore and are usually enthusiastically equipped with binoculars, nature journals, and magnifying glasses. There are countless places to explore in Southern California, and combined with our great weather, we can be outside almost all year long.
Going for a nature walk can be an impromptu event! For example, several times we have stepped outside and walked around our neighborhood with exploring eyes, looking for things around us that we usually do not observe. For instance, my children have developed into experts in finding numerous praying mantises! They are always on the look-out for a praying mantis and have caught several on occasion.
Going for a nature walk is a great way to get exercise (hiking) and can cover subjects like science, art, and writing! I will usually have my children sketch and write a few sentences about what they observe in a nature journal. These journals have served as a memory of our experiences out in nature.
Where should you go to explore? Like I mentioned above, you can step right outside your front door to explore! Here are some other great ideas:
- Beaches and tide pools. These are wonderful places to explore with treasure to be found all along the sand. We usually find an assortment of drift wood, sea glass, and sea shells to add to our collection. Be sure to find out first if the beach or tide pool is a protected area, which means they do not allow people to take anything that they find at the beach or tide pool.
- Parks are a great way to spend time exploring and playing! We will usually bring a blanket to sit on and listen to the different sounds that are around us.
- Arboretums are filled with beautiful flowers, trees, and ponds. Pack up a picnic lunch and spend time learning about the different trees, flowers, and ferns! Our favorite arboretum has a little stream where my children will go “fishing” with sticks. They could spend hours “fishing” for clams and leaves in the shade of bamboo trees!
- Nature centers are a little (and big!) explorer’s dream! They are filled with animal skins for the children to touch, and there is usually a docent volunteer there who can provide information about the area’s natural preserve. In Southern California, many regional parks have a nature center that is open most days of the week!
What is your favorite way to explore nature?