In this portion of Brave Learner Home, members can take a single topic and create cross-curricular connections in their homeschool. Themes range from Shakespeare to weather experiments to the history of inventions to poetry! Each month we feature a new topic with three levels: easy, moderate, and advanced. You can do the "one star" level and feel pride of success if you don't have time for the more advanced challenges. At the end of the month, reward yourself with a badge!

Our library has a slew of topics to match our literature guides and more!

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This Month's Challenge: Nature Walk

Nature Walk

Go Outside!

Your easy peasy challenge is to take a nature walk. Don't overthink; do what's doable for your family!

If you're already a family that walks or hikes, you could plan something special or add a unique aspect. If nature walks don't come, uh, naturally, just try to get out there.

Benefits of Nature Walks

There are so many benefits of nature walks and hikes.

  • Fresh air and movement
  • Feeling part of the natural world
  • Helps remedy nature-deficit disorder
  • Opportunity to notice things and develop observation skills
  • A foundation for science learning
  • A sense of stewardship: let's care for the environment
  • Developing curiosity about plants, insects, birds, and animals and their habitats
  • Providing ritual and rhythm in our lives (alternating with indoor time)
  • Developing a sense of place - what's in my neighborhood; what's in this park?
  • It's good for the brain

Nature Walk Basic Tips

  • Walk at different times of day and see what's different
  • Walk in varying weather
  • Start short and easy!
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Ask your kids to use different senses:
    • What do you see?
    • What do you hear?
    • What does it smell like?
    • What does it feel like?

Take-alongs for Learning

  • Each child gets a tote bag or basket for found items. (Remember parks may have rules against collecting to protect plants and animals. Leave No Trace principles can be helpful.)
  • Take a backpack (or one for each child) with
    • Field guides for identification of spiders, insects, birds, wildflowers, and trees
    • Hand magnifying lenses
    • Sketchbook and pencils
    • Binoculars
    • Bug net and jar
    • Camera (or smart phone camera)

There are some great smart phone nature apps and field guides.

Take-alongs for Fun and Comfort

  • Water bottles
  • Snacks - or even a picnic
  • Dry socks (you never know)
  • Diapering supplies
  • Bug spray and sunscreen if needed
  • Bandaids

More Advanced Walks and Hikes

If your family already does nature walks, amp it up a little:

  • Increase the length or difficulty of terrain.
  • Learn about foraging for edible plants. (Consider a guided hike with a park naturalist).
  • Take a night hike to look at constellations, moon phases, and hear the night sounds.
  • Travel to an area with a different landscape and ecosystem. Walk:
    • in the mountains
    • around tidal pools
    • in the desert
    • to a waterfall
    • in a salt marsh
    • on a suburban trail
    • in the city

But We Live in the City

You can still get the benefits of nature walks in an urban area. Many cities have official and unofficial walking trails along rivers, on old railroad beds, or in scenic areas and parks.

But even off a developed trail, you and your kids can walk and notice:

  • Birds and where they congregate
  • Grasses and wildflowers poking up in sidewalk cracks
  • Patches of wildness on undeveloped or abandoned lots
  • Spiders and their webs
  • Squirrels and small mammals

One Thing Challenge Library: