Throughout this post, three different typefaces are used:
- Bold - are words from the Handbook of Nature Study website.
- Italics - are words from the book titled Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.
- Regular - are my own words.
The website said, "Picnics don't need to be fancy. Wrap up a sandwich in a cloth napkin, grab a piece of fruit, and some water and you are set. Venture outside even if it is only to your own yard to sit on a blanket and enjoy your lunch. Afterwards you can make time for a short period of nature study."
So, that's what we did today...on my 45th birthday.
1. The challenge is to have a picnic. No need to go far or to even have a picnic table. Food always tastes better outside and if you don’t want to commit to a whole lunch, why not just a snack?
“…When the weather is warm, why not eat breakfast and lunch outside?
…Besides the benefit of an added hour or two of fresh air,
meals eaten outside are often delightful, and
there’s nothing like happiness to convert food and drink
into healthy blood and bodies."
~~ Charlotte Mason, Outdoor Life, page 43
We ended up having a light dinner and dessert outside on the little deck. The girls brought out pillows and blankets to sit on.
Olivia and Sophia having dinner on the deck.
After dinner, we enjoyed French silk pie. Sophia wanted to put candles on the pie. They were lit in the home and mudroom, but slowly went out one by one by the time the pie got to me. "You can still make a wish, and pretend to blow out the candles!"
Sophia bringing out the French silk pie.
Pretending to blow out the candles I said, "Oh, wow! Look at that! I got them all out! The best I've ever done!"
After you eat, sit and listen to the sounds of nature.
“Given the power of nature to calm and soothe us in our hurried lives,
it also would be interesting to study how a family’s connection to nature
influences the general quality of family relationships.
Speaking from personal experience,
my own family’s relationships have been nourished over the years
through shared experiences in nature-
from sharing our toddler’s wonder upon turning over a rock and
discovering a magnificent bug the size of a mouse,
to paddling our old canoe down a nearby creek
during the children’s school years,
to hiking the mountains.”
~~Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
We listened to nature before we ate and at times while we were eating. The birds were singing (especially the wrens who have a nest near the deck), the swallows were flying around the backyard and then under the eaves of the barn, and the wind was blowing lightly. It was a beautiful night to have a picnic.
The pine tree next to the deck and back of the house.
It is now taller than the house.
We spent some time looking at the vegetable/herb garden, flower garden, strawberries, and clover - all of which are subjects of other nature studies that we have done/are in the process of doing during the upcoming day or so.
The first tiger lily of the season bloomed on the 29th of June...my birthday.
2. After your picnic, spend 10-15 minutes observing your surroundings. Add anything new to your list of items observed in your focus area that you are keeping in your nature journal. Make note of any additional research that needs to be done for things your child is interested in. Make a journal entry if you wish.
We didn't spend time after the picnic outside because the mosquitos were getting progressively worse. The girls get rather significant reactions to mosquito bites, so it was better to go inside at that point.
The girls are interested in the tiny toads that they have been finding. At 1/4" long, they are very small; in fact, the smallest we've ever seen here.