Chipmunks and Squirrels Nature Study

Chipmunks and squirrels are pretty fast moving. However, we took a leisurely pace with this nature study, enjoying it here and there over the last couple of weeks. Mentioning it while we were outside. Being reminded of it when we saw a squirrel. Squirrels we know plenty about. They frequent our feeder and dart across the tree-lined roads.

However, when we think of chipmunks, we think of Mama Ann’s yard. Mama Ann is known for feeding birds. News of the abundance of bird seed has spread in the chipmunk community. So, of course we headed over to Mama Ann’s for a visit and to see if we could spot chipmunks! We’ve seen chipmunks grab some prize fallen seed before. However, this time, all the children running around kept the chipmunks away.

But Mama Ann did show us one chipmunk home, plus the path they run over to pop down another entrance.

Gluing in a chipmunk’s predators.

Also, over this last week, Eldest Boy and Littlest Girl worked together on a Chipmunk/Squirrel lapbook from Homeschool Share (also pictured at top). The link was provided in the More Nature Study ebook. The little flaps are great visual prompts for more research and learning. Plus, lapbooks are not just for younger children. I’ve found that the topics are wonderful jumping off places for my older ones. (Plus a fun project for brothers and sisters to enjoy together).

Me? I had no idea chipmunks were considered a ground squirrel. I knew they ran around on the ground but I’ve never thought of chipmunks as squirrels. But, the more we studied, the more it made sense. They make their homes in the ground  :)

Other interest things we learned and discussed:

  • when chipmunks dig their homes, they put the extra dirt in the cheek pouches to carry it out (paraphrase from Handbook of Nature Study).
  • chipmunks build their homes in the ground. Squirrels build nests in the trees.
  • Middle Girl has spotted chipmunks running about in our backyard and thinks she knows where the burrow is.
  • We definitely see many more squirrels than chipmunks.
  • Eldest boy says he read that chipmunks also eat insects while squirrels stick to seeds and nuts.

Another afternoon we enjoyed the notebook and coloring pages from Handbook of Nature Study.

And more on the chipmunk lapbook.

A lovely study at the height of the glory days of fall. Lots of outdoor time – with hopes of spotting chipmunks sprinkled in between enjoying the changing  leaves.

The morning I posted this the chipmunks were dashing and chasing each other all over the backyard. We enjoyed the show!

How about you? Do you see more chipmunks or squirrels around you?


  1. 1

    Rebecca says

    Tricia, I would really like to understand your schedule…your ability to implement TOG and the Nature Study truly amazes me. Could you message me just your overall schedule. I am in the process of a major overhaul…. THANKS!

    • 2


      Rebecca, I am working on a post about the same thing. I’ve had the same question lately though we really haven’t changed anything except adding in the science projects (which we finished :) ) The biggest help are our habits which we have added in, one by one, over the years.

      The biggest one is our ‘one more thing after lunch’. While the children finish eating I usually read them a lesson. One (sometimes two) subjects a day – right after lunch. So that means one day we discuss our nature topic then head out in the backyard. Another day we read our science lesson, another day we go over our English from the Roots up and or watch a Visual Latin lesson. Another day we pick one of our Tapestry readings or activities.

      So the two little ones and the main three Rs are finished up in the morning. I also gave more detail in my answer to Cindy here:

      I’ll let you know when I get that post up. Be encouraged, my friend! It’s not as organized as it appears on the blog and there are always those balancing the age range issues to work out :) Plus, lots of daily prayers for wisdom, of course!

  2. 7


    I love that your family is able to make room for so many of the suggestions from the challenges. I think lapbooks are a great tool for older children as well and my visual spatial learner did several as part of his high school courses (mostly science related). I also love seeing your children work together. :)

    We only have squirrels in our area, no chipmunks. We do see chipmunks when we travel to Yosemite and they are so much fun to watch. I enjoyed reading about your chipmunk/squirrel week and thanks for sharing your link with the OHC.
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom recently posted..OHC More Nature Study #8 Fall Leaf Study – Close UpMy Profile

    • 8


      Barb – all the suggestions in your challenges are well worth the few minutes of extra discovery. Makes for such a well rounded study. Plus, all that writing for the chipmunk lapbook? That counts for other areas of school work. I agree that lapbooks are a great tool no matter what the age. Thanks for another fun study!

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