Cultivating Curiosity with Nature Study

Mama, I need a towel because I did one of the nature prompts,” she calls through the cracked open back door. I look and her feet are covered in clay. I smile.

“Make a little mud and walk through it in your bare feet.” ~ August Outdoor Hour Challenge Newsletter

Earlier I had printed the Outdoor Hour Challenges nature study grid and placed it in the middle of the kitchen table. She saw it after she finished up her math. She was sliding her flip flops on to run out the back door and swing.

“Can I have this all for myself?” she asks. “Sure,” I say. “Have fun.” She takes the paper and a pencil. I watch through the kitchen window while I tuck dishes in the dishwasher.

She’s six. And she’s had practice. We’ve noticed nature together for some time now. And for some time now, she’s pointed things out to me. She wants to study nature as part of her day.

She took the grid and went out in the backyard by herself. I had the pleasure of watching this first grader of mine. And I had a very hard time keeping myself inside. “Sit quietly in the garden for 5 minutes. What did you hear? What did you see?”

Because she made it look like such fun.

Back inside, she circled the things she did. Find three leaves of different shapes.

She draws a flower with a spiral. And she tells me all she did. All she heard. She noticed.

And I listen and smile. “I dug for worms but I didn’t find any,” she says. The rest of the children take notice. And I am grateful…

  • seeing the delight!
  • mud, Georgia red clay
  • visit with great-grandmother on a Saturday, having a picnic on her screened porch, watching birds on her feeder
  • noticing the last days of summer sorts of things. Only a few hydrangea blossoms, shorter days
  • the sound of the swing set
  • sudden downpours of rain
  • the promise of fall nature study ahead!
  • all the simple nature prompts that remind us to enjoy

A fiery sunset, tiny pansies by the wayside, the sound of raindrops tapping on the roof – what extraordinary delight we find in the simple wonders of life! With wide eyes and full hearts, we may cherish what others often miss. ~ author unknown

Counting the gifts of curiosity through nature study #4113-4126.


  1. 1


    Made my day….no, probably my whole week. :)

    Dear Little Girl,
    So how did it feel to have all that squishy red dirt under your toes? Thank you for letting your mom share your outdoor time with me and everyone else too. You inspire us all.

    Thank you for being such a great example.

  2. 4


    Hi Tricia

    I think this is my first time commenting on your lovely blog. I’ve been following for a few months now and loving it.

    This was a WONDERFUL and inspiring post. I was wondering where you got the grid from. I popped over to the Outdoor Hour site and poked around for a bit but couldn’t seem to find it. Do I need to buy it? (I’ve been thinking of buying the Outdoor Hour Challenge e-book but haven’t managed to eke out the time to do it.) This grid looks like a nice way to start observing in the backyard.

    Thanks for the great post.

    In Him


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