Backyard nature study is a fabulous way to enjoy some outdoor science fun. You don’t need to travel, nature comes to you, and it’s super easy to head out the back door.
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Fun Backyard Nature Study Tips
1. Nature Journal
Keep a nature journal this fall. You can write down and draw the types of birds you see in the yard. Note the changing flowers, and how the leaves change color.
As the weather changes you can look out the window and draw the changes you see in the backyard. Is it stormy? Cloudy? Are the leaves green or turning colors? Write and draw the changes.
Young children can be encouraged to draw what they see.
2. Track the Weather
Fall weather tends to change day by day. Some days are sunny, warm, and beautiful. The next day can be cloudy, cool, and gloomy.
In your children’s nature journals, keep track of the weather. Note if the weather is sunny, rainy, cloudy, or snowy. Keep track of the various days, and later you can enjoy a math activity by graphing how many sunny days you’ve enjoyed versus cloudy, rainy, or snowy days.
3. Bird Feeder
Fall is the perfect time to place bird feeders around the yard. Flocks of birds are gathering together in preparation for their migration south. Other birds are trying to get fat.
The weather is also pleasant to spend a few minutes hanging the bird feeders. My suggestion is to hang the bird feeders near your windows. As the weather gets cold, you’ll still be able to enjoy studying birds from the warmth of your house.
I enjoy keeping a bird book or a page showing the common species of birds near our window. We look outside and have fun noting what types of birds are visiting.
4. Backyard Square
For a square in the backyard, simply mark off a large square using a piece of rope or string. The size can change depending upon how large of a square you’d like to study. You can create a square one foot by one foot, one yard by one yard, or even a large circle if you prefer.
Once you’ve strung your line and marked off the area, take your kids outside and note what’s in your square. What types of plants are in the square? Is it all grass or do you have dandelions, cover, and daisies as well? Look for bugs and animal tracks. Pull out your nature journal. Draw pictures of the square and what you’ve discovered in side of it.
Leave the square up for as long as you’re able to. If you put it off to the side of the yard or in a flower bed, you may be able to leave it up the entire summer. Spend time every day heading outside to discover what’s changed in the backyard square.
5. Bug Hotels
Bug hotels are fun to put up outside. You can even place it inside the backyard square to see what kinds of bugs you can attract.
The idea is simple. Place a slice of apple or another type of fruit inside a can or plastic container. Put the container on it’s side outside in the yard. I personally think putting it inside the backyard
square makes it easy to have one spot in the yard set aside for science study.
When you go outside to study your backyard square, see what types of bugs are enjoying the bug hotel.
Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy nature study in your backyard. Everything is changing outside as plants and animals prepare for the winter.
Do you enjoy back yard nature study?