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Gardening with Kids: Creating a Plant & Garden Nature Study Binder

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A Heart For Home: Gardening with Kids: Creating a Plant & Garden Nature Study Binder

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gardening with Kids: Creating a Plant & Garden Nature Study Binder

Plant & Garden Nature Study
Recently, when Kristin shared her nature study ideas I knew this type of learning would be a good fit for our family. Science with no curriculum (and minimal cost), yes, please.
 
Since we spend a great deal of spring and summer hours in the garden, I thought that would be the perfect place to start.
 
Even if you don’t homeschool, this is the perfect summer project to keep your kids learning, engaged, and outdoors. It would also make a great show-and-tell for the famous “how I spent my summer” discussion.
 
Now, I must admit, I have never researched the art of nature study, in fact, I’m fairly certain we won’t be doing it quite right, but this is what works for our family—maybe it’ll work for your family, too!
 
This idea is a little bit of a smorgasbord of ideas taken from the concept of nature study, journaling, notebooking, and scrapbooking.
 
Since our children are all preschoolers, I decided that we would do our nature study as a family and keep our notes and drawings in one place.
 
I’m a little obsessed with binders and page protectors (just ask my husband) so I decided that our nature study would be housed not in a sketchbook but in a 3-ring binder. (Trying to get three kids to share one sketchbook sounded like a recipe for disaster and since they are so young I’m not ready for them each to have their own sketchbook.)
 
Plant & Garden Nature Study Binder Cover(click here to print this cover for your binder)
 
I filled the binder with various styles of page protectors: standard, 4x6 photo, trading card, and business card (all leftover from various projects—I told you I’m obsessed). This will make it easier to place all types of items into our binder.
 
Along with what the kids' contribute, my husband will be adding various garden notes and I’m sure I’ll be adding my own observations as well (I already slid in an April garden plot sketch).
 
Garden Plots Sketch April
 
Here are a couple of the things the kids have added so far.
 
tomato seedlings Emahry
 
spinach leaves Jonathan
 
I’m also planning on adding monthly photos of the garden and the kids helping in the garden.
 
garden sketching
 
I’ll probably edit and save all of these in a folder on our computer until I come across a good deal for printing photos. For the time being I’ll slide some scrap paper into the photo slots with a description of which picture I want there. That will help me quickly add them in once they’re printed.
 
Here are some ideas of other things you could add to your plant and garden nature study binder:

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little BlessingsI tried to stop at 10 items, but I just kept finding more great activities, so this is more of a top ten + eight :)



(All the links below go to my pins, so those who use Pinterest can repin easily from the original source.)
  • monthly drawings of the same plant (to show growth)
  • drawings of bugs and other garden critters
  • plant life cycle cards (like these or ones your child has drawn)
  • weather charts or graphs
  • results of plant experiments (like this or this)
  • poems about plants
  • measurements of different garden plants or garden produce
  • famous garden paintings
  • Venn diagrams comparing two different plants
  • a list of your favorite plant books (we’re gathering ours now)
  • garden word cards (like these or these)
  • labeled diagrams of flowering plants
  • garden or plant painting (like this or this for older children, or this one and this one perfect for younger kiddos)
  • favorite recipes using foods from your garden
  • pressed flowers or leaves
  • photos of crafts made for the garden (Like our painted garden markers. I’m gathering lots of other ideas here)
  • garden magazine or seed catalogue collages
  • leaf rubbings
We’ll be sharing lots of ideas and projects from our nature study throughout the summer, including an extensive list of great plant and garden books to read with your kids. Sign up for free email updates below so you don’t miss a thing.



Is this something you’d like to do with your child(ren)?

Can you think of other things that would be nice to add to our Plant and Garden Binder? We’d love to hear your ideas.
 
Photobucket

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Didi said...

I love nature journals, and I think using the binder method with your kids to help them discover and learn about their garden is a great idea! I'm featuring this post in the Kid's Co-op this week. :-)

May 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM  

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