“Children should be encouraged to quietly and patiently watch the bee, spider, ant, caterpillar or other wildlife that crosses their path. If this seems dull to them, they just need to watch more closely, because their alert eyes can catch the smallest ways of insects in ways that grown-ups can’t without magnifiers.” Charlotte Mason, volume 1, Outdoor Life, page 57
Outdoor Hour Challenge #9
One Small Square
1. Let’s give ourselves a challenge.
Gather yarn, scissors, ruler, and four rocks. (optional: small garden trowel and magnifying lens)
Measure off one square somewhere out in your yard or near-by park. (I prefer to do this somewhere I can dig up a few inches of soil and not get into trouble.) Use your ruler to place rocks in a one foot square plot. Use the yarn to mark off the edges of your square. If you are completing this challenge with younger children, you might consider making a two foot square plot to investigate to make it easier. Each child could have their own square if you wish.
Now the challenge comes in. See how many different things you can find in your square. If there are leaves, lift them up and see what is underneath. If there are rocks or gravel, scrape them aside and see what is underneath. If there is grass or weeds and you have permission, use your trowel to dig up a few inches under the grass, moving it carefully to the side to replace when you are done observing. Use your hand lens if you have one along with you on your challenge.
2. Add any new items to your focus list that you are keeping in your nature journal. Add any items to your collection that you found during this week’s challenge time. Give an opportunity for a nature journal entry. If you used your hand lens during this week’s challenge, encourage your child to draw something they saw that you would not normally see like a small insect, worm, or seed.
3. Post an entry on your blog sharing your experiences with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. You can link up by clicking the carnival button or you can send them directly to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can purchase all of the first ten challenges in a convenient ebook along with custom notebook pages.