10 Minute Nature Studies


I know that a lot of people want to do more nature studies, but feel overwhelmed by the thought of all the time it’s going to take.

Here, then, are my top 10 ways to study nature when you only have 10 minutes a day. Over 11 years of homeschooling, I’ve been happy to find these quick activities that still make a big impact. I hope you’ll find them helpful too!

10 Ways to Study Nature in 10 Minutes

Paint the Weather

Divide a page in your nature journal into small squares – 1″ is plenty. Take ten minutes each day to paint the colors of the weather as you perceive them. Mud? Grass? Glorious red morning sky? Snowstorm? Have fun with it.

Pick One Spot to Check Out Daily

Mark it off if you need to…..it can be as small as a planter pot or as big as the huge maple tree in your yard. Each person can pick something that they’ll enjoy looking at and making “theirs”.

Take One Photo

Hand over the camera and let each child take a photo of something they’ve spotted. Print, glue, and date. Done.

Pick One Thing to Look for On a Short Walk

Red things, moss, robins…it doesn’t matter what! Make it up before you go out, or ask the kids for suggestions.

Tell an Ongoing Story

If your kids know that the next installment of Billy Blue Jay’s adventures is coming, they’ll have their boots on in no time and you can fit a surprising amount of science in there too.

Sketch the Sky

Take 10 minutes to paint or draw the clouds each day at the same time.

Watch Something Bloom

This time of year, for us it’s the tulips and daffodils as they make their journey from tiny green stubs to a graceful, colorful bloom. Take ten minutes to scribble down as many changes from the day before as you can. Think about measuring and graphing the height, checking for new leaves, or drawing a quick picture of how open a bud is.

Observe the Ant

Or observe whatever creepy crawlies you see in the same spot each day. Write it, sketch it, photograph it…..if you place them out like a calendar you’ll be amazed at the variety by the end of a month.

Stand and Listen

Sit quietly outside (or in your house) and listen. Write down all of the things you heard when the 10 minutes are up.

Try the Sniff Test

First, close your eyes and smell. Then see if you can locate some of the things you observed. Lilies? Rain on dry pavement? Freshly cut grass? It’s rarely the same combination twice, but we could find our yard blindfolded by now. Have some fun!

No matter what you choose to do, make those 10-minute nature studies the most relaxed, fun part of your homeschool day!

Erin Dean

About the author

Erin writes about nature study, homesteading, homeschooling, and whatever else crosses her insomniac mind at 3am. She's a homeschooling mom of 11 years with one graduate and two to go, and is easily distracted by books and other shiny things!

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    1. I’m so glad you liked the ideas! The only other suggestion I would make to a new nature journal-er is to remember to have fun with it; I tried to make it way too formal and serious when we first started and I think we lost a lot of learning that year. Enjoy!

      (I see from your comment that you have a blog; please feel free to email me your nature study posts at theusualmayhem at gmail dot com so I can pin them to my boards, too!)

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