Why You Need Nature Walks in Your Homeschool {and How to Do Them}

Nature walks can be a fun way to get outdoors to learn and begin a simple nature study habit.

Getting outdoors and exploring God’s creation is a very important part of our homeschool. It has many benefits that should not be missed, both health-wise and education-wise. We can’t always get out every day, but we try to include nature walks several times a week. Some days are quicker walks than others, but that’s fine. There are a lot of places to have your nature walk and a lot of ways to do it, so let’s take a look at the why and how of it.

Don’t forget to download your free printable nature walk scavenger hunt below!

How to do nature walks in your #homeschool | #homeschooling nature study

Why and How to Include Nature Walks in Your Homeschool Day

The Why-

This is a pretty easy answer, because the benefits you reap from daily time outside are immediate and long-lasting.

  • Fresh Air– This benefit alone is worth it! Fresh air clears out the lungs, sharpens minds, gets the blood flowing, and encourages focused thinking.
  • Sunshine– Vitamin D is crucial to humans and the best source is good old natural doses of Vitamin D from the sun.  But even overcast days can provide you with some benefits so get out there!
  • Hands-on Science– There is no better way to learn about bugs, birds, trees, and other forms of nature than to be right out among them — observing, catching, following, drawing, and feeling it in their hands.
  • Bonding Time– Being outdoors away from electronics offers another chance for you and your child(ren) to bond and focus on family.
  • Exercise– Even a gentle slow walk is healthy for you and your child, think of all the reaching, bending, and other movements that your child will go through while exploring.
  • Change of pace– Getting a different view and changing up the pace of the day can help you and your child focus better on indoor work by helping to clear your mind as well as give it a rest.

North American Trees Notebooking Pages
The How-

Nature walks can be done in your backyard, around the neighborhood, a local park, or venture out to a nearby state park. They do not require any special prep or equipment, but a couple items help make it a bit better. The best advice I can give you is to just get out there! There are so many things to do on a walk with kids!

  • Pack a small backpack with bottled waters, a field guide or two like this one, binoculars, a magnifying glass, and a few other items and head out!
  • Take a camera and make it a photo scavenger hunt, give your child a list of things to find and photograph — a pinecone, rough tree bark, a white stone, a mushroom, etc.
  • Mark off a section of your own backyard and head out every day to observe it and the changes occurring within it.
  • Take along a paper bag to gather specimens, bring them back to closer inspect and research your finds.
  • Carry along a mini flower press for preparing specimens for craft projects or your nature shelf.
  • Bring a sketchbook and draw or paint what you find outdoors — a sunset, a pine tree, a squirrel, etc.
  • Make bark rubbings or leaf rubbings with a crayon and paper.
  • For small children, wrap a piece of masking tape around their wrist like a bracelet with the sticky side out. They can collect small “treasures” along the walk by pressing it onto their wrist.
  • Have a color walk. Set out to find items of one color, or look for the entire rainbow!
  • Use the items you find on your nature walks to create works of art — leaves, sticks, and flowers make lovely collage pieces.

For more ideas, read this post: Nature Study for Beginners.

How do you incorporate nature walks into your homeschool day?

Check out the nature study series here:

bird and wildflowers for nature study ideas


Sara
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9 Comments

  1. How do you incorporate nature walks to learn for aged 10-13 year olds.. we do Montessori style homeschooling methods, and Charlotte Mason inspired, along with a bit of unschooling..

    1. We’re also a mix of Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and unschooling, so I can relate. 🙂 My oldest daughter is 15 and she still enjoys nature walks. Although she’s outgrown some of the activities that I mentioned in this post, we can still work nature walks/nature study into our learning with a little more intention. For example, she likes to write so she always has a journal with her. She makes notes on things we see and includes them in her stories as settings and descriptive paragraphs. Nature can be a great inspiration for poetry, too. She also enjoys photography, so she takes her camera along to take pictures of things that inspire her. We can then use those photos as inspiration in art lessons when she draws/paints landscapes or flowers/plants. She enjoys wildflower identification, bird identification, and the occasional rock/mineral identification. We have little field guides for all of those. Do any of those ideas help?

    1. It’s really up to you. If you live in an area where it’s possible to get out every day and you enjoy them, it can be a daily activity. We do them a few times per week, or weekly or monthly basis, depending on the weather and our other activities. This post is really meant as a reminder that taking nature walks does count as learning and has other benefits as well. 🙂 It can also count toward homeschool P.E. time.

      If you do them frequently, I suggest having themes for them if you can. For instance, one walk might be for bird watching. The next might be for wildflower identification. Another might be for noticing insects. That way you aren’t trying to do too much at once. These can also happen naturally while playing outside in the backyard or at the park. I hope this helps!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hey Sara,
    Thanks a lot for sharing such creative and nature-friendly resources. All 6 why’s and 10 how’s are highly realistic and relevant. Really loved the out of box concepts. Cheers.

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