Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

A Month of Ideas for Enjoying Outside: The Great Outdoor Challenge & The Family Nature Club

"Never be within doors when you can rightly be without."
-Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Vol. 1, p. 42
The month of April is Children and Nature Awareness month and in the spirit of this, our family came up with some ideas for fun outdoors time.
"...what is to be done with these golden hours so that every one shall be delightful? They must be spent with some method, or the mother will be taxed and the children bored."
-Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Vol. I, p.44
Day 1
For the Love of Violets
To see more pictures of collecting violets, click here.
To see our Nature Study of Violets, click here.
To see about Forcing Violets Inside and Using Them for Decorations, click here.
If you have enough to make Violet Jelly, click here

Day 2
Make a Terrarium.
Gather plants outside and make a terrarium to hold them.
Instructions here.

Day 3
Explore Your Own Neighborhood
You might make some new friends.
More photos of our walk here.

Day 4
Explore Your Own Backyard
Do you know what plants and animals are in your own backyard?
"...every wild flower that grows in their neighborhood, they should know quite well..."
Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Vol. 1, p. 51
Don't forget to enjoy playing there, even if it is muddy.
More pictures of our day here.

Day 5
Go on a Leaf Walk.
We usually only think of collecting leaves in the fall,
but the spring also is a wonderful time to collect leaves,
press them between the pages of heavy books
and then use a guide to identify them.
More pictures, here.
"Children should be made early intimate with trees, too;...It is hard to keep pace with the wonders that unfold themselves...the festive breaking out of all the trees into lovely leafage; the learning the patterns of the leaves as they come out, and the naming of the trees from this and other signs..." -Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Vol. I, p. 52-53

Day 6
Make some Nature Inspired Art.
Break out the art supplies!
For some ideas for flower art using pastels, click here.

Day 7
Start a child's Garden.
It's not to late!
Pictures of our gardening here.

Day 8
Rainy Day Play
Don't let rain stop you from getting outside.
Just dress for it.
Pictures of our rainy day explorations, here.
You can also make rainy day art, instructions here.

Day 9
You can use these cards for a fun exercise game for little ones.
Pictures of our boys using them here.
For kids of all ages and adults, these are great exercise cards.
Photos of us using those cards are here.

Day 10
Parks & Playgrounds
Although it may sound obvious to go to public parks and playgrounds for some outside time, sometimes we just don't make the time to do it.
Invite a few friends for a really fun afternoon.
More photos of our park day here.

Day 11
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Give your kids a list of things to find.
We used the plastic coated one that came in this kit,
but you could use this one, or make your own.
Want to see more of our walk?

Day 12
Play Pretend Games
Dress up is not just for indoors, especially with boys!
Remember all those old fashioned games...cops & robbers, cowboys & Indians, heroes...?
Let them be as loud and wild as they want OUTSIDE.

Day 13
Start your own worm composting.
Compost is great for your gardens.
Instructions on how here.

Day 14
Look for the moon during the day.
Did you know that the moon is up during the day half the time?
Although it is true that you can't see it sometimes because it is too close to the sun, it is still exciting to see the moon during the day.
Talk about what kind of moon it is. Is it getting smaller or larger?

Day 15
Make Dandelion Chains
If your area is like mine, the Dandelions are just coming out in full force!
You can make Dandelion chains to decorate your garden fence or wear Dandelion crowns.
Instructions here.

Day 16
Go Fly a Kite
Is the day breezy? Then go fly a kite.
You can buy a kite or make one of your own.
Instructions to make one here.

Day 17
Plantain Shooters
A wonderful tutorial is here.
For more information, click here.

Day 18
Blow Lots of BIG Bubbles!
You can buy professional bubble mix
or make your own.
You can even make your own bubble wands.
You can also make bubble art.
Day 19
Play Parachute Games
A family sized parachute is inexpensive
and will last a very long time for hours of outdoor family & friends fun.

Day 20
Have a Picnic
at the beach or outside anywhere you like.
"...meals taken al fresco are usually joyous, and there is nothing like gladness for converting meat and drink into healthy blood and tissue. All the time, too, the children are storing up memories of a happy childhood..." -Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Vol. I, p.43
To see more of our picnic, click here.

Day 21
Play Frisbee GolfIt is a new fun way to have fun outside.
Available at many parks and recreation places.

Day 22
Go Canoeing
It is such a restful way to exercise!
You never know what beautiful sights you might see,
so be sure to take binoculars with you.

Day 23
Build Sandcastle
either at the beach or in a sandbox.
It will keep young ones entertained for hours.
Even adults and older children can build complicated ones.
Day 24
Expore a New & Different Habitat
It is interesting to visit a habitat with which you are not familiar.
You can see animals and plants you have not seen before.

Day 25
Wake up Early
enough to see the sunrise.
It is unforgetable.

Day 26
Crafting Outside
Crafts made outside makes easier clean-up
and a more pleasant time.
Instructions for Flower Prints from Soda Bottles,
a simple, easy craft to do outside, can be found here.

Day 27
Make Walnut Boats
More of our pictures here.
Instructions for how to make them are here.

Day 28
Make Flower Crowns and Leis
for yourself or to give away to someone special.
Instructions on how to make them here.

Day 29
Make a Birdfeeder
to attract bird friends.
Instructions on how to make them here.

Day 30
Trace Shadows
"...children should be taught to observe the position of the sun in the heavens from hour to hour and by his position tell the time of day..." -Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Vol. I, p. 73
Have your child stand in a sunny place and trace his shadow.
Come back a couple of hours later and have him stand in the same place
and trace his shadow again.
How has it changed? Has it moved? Is it larger or smaller or the same size?
Predict what it would be like in two hours.
Trace again two hours later.
How does it match your prediction?


  1. These are great ideas! I like the idea of making violet jelly, although, we don't have any around here!

    Thanks for the great bird book suggestions!

  2. AWESOME! I always love to read your comments on the list (I think it's you unless there's another Phyllis too). I'm looking forward to reading more here. Thanks for leaving the link to your Monet study. I'm excited :) I'll be back.

    amy in peru


  3. Oh what fun! So glad you commented on Nana's pastel lessons on Hodgepodge so that I could come find you. This list looks like inspiration from now through the summer. Thanks!

  4. Day 25...ooh...breath-taking.

  5. That is a whole lot of fun!


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