Category Archives: Learning Activities

20 Children’s Books about Nature

There are so many great nature books for children out there, and we have decided to share some of our favorites with you. This post does contain some affiliate links, however we do personally recommend these books and have many of them in our playroom now. Our son has recently shown a huge interest in nature, so nature books are something we have been reading daily in our home.
Nature books for children

We hope you enjoy this awesome list of quality children’s books about nature! If you have any personal favorites, we would love to hear about them in the comments!

Nature Books for Kids

Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Trees– Learn all about trees with Old Mr Crinkleroot. Learn about forest ecology and different types of trees while enjoying beautiful watercolor illustrations. Our kids have always loved Mr. Crinkleroot!

Diary of a Worm – This is a silly book about the life of a worm. It will make your kids (and probably you) laugh, while opening up questions and conversations about how worms are helpful to the earth and our soil.

Bugs Galore– Although this book is all about creepy crawlies, the illustrations are bright and colorful enough to grab the attention of just about anyone!

Tale of a Tadpole– This is such a great story about a little girl and her pet tadpole. With the turn of each page the tadpole slowly changes into a toad. The illustrations are beautifully painted with watercolor.

Nature Anatomy- The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World– Learn about nature anatomy in a new way with these amazing drawings.

Wildflowers Blooms and Blossoms– A field guide for children that is easy to follow and contains plenty of information about 29 common flowering plants.

Crinkleroot’s Guide to Walking in Wild Places– A great book for little nature explorers, Old Crinkleroot guides you through the forest while offering tips on how to dress, identify poisonous plants, and how to behave if you spot a wild animal.

First Nature Encyclopedia– An in-depth encyclopedia for children to learn about the natural world.

The Leaf Man– A fictional story about leaves and other pieces of nature blowing along as fall arrives. “Leaf Man” is actually illustrated with pictures of real fall leaves. This is a great story to read before doing this nature craft with your children.

A Stick is an Excellent Thing– A great book of poems celebrating outdoor play, with things that cost nothing.

Who Pooped in the Northwoods?– Come along with a family as they find different kinds of scat and discover who it came from!

Super Nature Encyclopedia– This is Mr 5’s personal favorite. A Smithsonian book filled with huge, up-close and high definition photographs of unique animals. This book is also full of unusual animal facts that will be sure to keep your child interested.

Monarch and Milkweed– Is a simple and beautifully illustrated, yet factual story of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and it’s connection with the millkweed plant.

National Geographic- Everything Rocks and Minerals– This book takes on the style of a magazine. It is full of bright photographs of many different kinds of rocks and minerals. Tons of information are provided in the captions and fun facts.

Ultimate Bug Sticker Book– The title says it all. It’s an awesome  sticker book full of life-like bug stickers!

Fun with Nature– A great resource to keep around when hiking or exploring, and it also contains plenty of activities to keep your children entertained.

Tell me Tree– This book talks about the parts of trees, different kinds of trees, and also has instructions for making your very own tree identification guide. It is simply illustrated for younger children to enjoy, but also covers some more advanced topics such as photosynthesis.

A Seed is Sleepy–  Beautifully illustrated by well-known artists Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long, this book is a must-have for children of all ages. It is a great classroom resource as well as  a fun book to read. Learn fun facts about many different types of seeds.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt– This book is all about the lovely things you can see growing in the garden, but you also get to learn about the worms, snails, and other crawlies that live under the garden too!

Swirl by Swirl– Learn all about swirl shapes in nature with this bright and colorfully illustrated book.

 

As we said earlier, we would love to hear about your personal favorites in the comments! We are always looking for great books to enjoy and I’m sure other readers are too.

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Ways To Reuse Your Melissa And Doug Trays

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Our kids got a lot of Melissa and Doug gifts this year for Christmas. I have always loved the company, and I also really like the way they package their products. Many of the smaller toys (magnets, play food, etc.) come in these cute little shallow wooden boxes or trays.

I have always kept them, thinking I could find uses for them in some way or another. Well, yesterday I was cleaning the sea of toys we call the playroom, and realized I have a ton of those little boxes and we’re doing nothing with them. So, instead of tossing them in the trash, I brainstormed and compiled a short list of ideas!

To be honest, I feel silly because the list of things I can make the trays into are things I have wanted to do with my kids for a while! Yay!

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 1. “Tinker Trays”– You can set up all sorts of small pieces and items that kids can work with. They love sorting, organizing, and even creating patterns and art work. Meri Cherry has a lovely post about her “Tinker Trays” if you are interested in exploring this idea.

My oldest also loves to sort and collect pieces of “nature,” as he calls them. He collects lots of stones, acorns, leaves, etc. This is a great way to help them explore nature and understand what parts of nature are alike and different. You can encourage children to separate things by color, texture, shape, or just stand back and watch their little minds work.

This type of tray really gives the children to be creative and do what they want with it. It is definitely my favorite way to use old Melissa and Doug trays!

2. Sand Tray– This is something that works really well when teaching younger children to recognize and write the alphabet or sight words. You don’t have to use sand though, sugar or salt work just as well! I usually stick with salt, because I’m pretty sure my kids would figure out it was sugar and they would be licking it off the table in no time 😉

3. Drawer Organizer– Give one of the trays a little makeover and stick it in your junk drawer! You could also add some soft decorative fabric to create a nice spot to keep your jewelry.

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Teaching Your Toddler How To Spell Their Name

I have always enjoyed seeing my little boy’s eyes light up when he realizes he has learned something new. When he learned to spell his name he was just so excited, and I could see an immediate boost in confidence. I have mentioned in previous posts that he is a typical little boy- he bores very easily and it is sometimes difficult for him to sit still. This can be a problem in a typical classroom setting, but since we are learning at home for now, I’ve come up with some fun ways for him to learn how to spell his name:

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Grab those annoying, (and sometimes painful when in the bottom of your foot) blocks off of the living room floor, and stick a letter of your child’s name on each one. Viola, you have an awesome puzzle that your child can either line up or stack!

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Sing a Name Song Banner

We had so much fun with this one! We worked together to come up with a song that spelled out his name, and we sing it all of the time.

“C-A-M-E-R-O-N he’s Cam-er-on and he’s my best friend!”

or

“C-A-M-E-R-O-N, that’s the way you spell Cameron!”

I would love to hear from all of you about other ways you have taught your children how to spell their names!

Learning Math with LEGOS!

When I was little, “hate” was the word that came to mind when I thought of math. I never liked it, not one bit. Our son just turned four, and we have decided to try to teach him at home this year. I have been working really hard to find things that interest him and keep his little squirmy-self focused.

When it came to math, LEGOS were the answer!

My boy doesn’t care for worksheets just yet, but he has begged me every morning to “learn” since we started using LEGO Duplos (afflink)!
Right after breakfast in the mornings we grab our bucket of legos and I’ll make two stacks. He will count how many legos are in each stack, and then we combine them and count the total. We will say, “two Legos, plus four Legos, equals six Legos!”

He also loves predicting how many legos tall some of his toys are, and then stacking and counting his legos by the toy to see if his prediction was correct. I am so unbelievably impressed with how much he has learned by just counting and stacking his Legos.

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I have only started teaching my kids for about 30 minutes to an hour every day, and I am definitely learning right along with them. The most important thing I have learned so far is to just make learning fun!

Hand Painted Terra Cotta Pots

Pre-K Science for Earth Day!

I have recently started doing “activity time” with my kiddos (1&3), and they are loving it so far. I’ve been trying to implement some sort of learning activity for 30 minutes every day, since my oldest has not started Preschool yet. I absolutely LOVED the activity we did yesterday!

I bought a couple of those cheap $1 terra cotta pots from the store, and I let the kids paint them however they wanted, then after cleaning up, we made a quick run to the home improvement store and I let them pick out a special plant of their choice. My oldest was SO excited. We then planted them, watered them, and sat them in the sunlight!

During the entire process we talked about all of the things plants need to survive, how they grow, and what they do to help us. It was educational, fun, and SUPER messy, but they loved it.

Here’s a picture of the finished product!

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It was fun to see what kind of plant they chose. My son chose a rosemary plant, because we took a moment to smell the herbs, and of course my one-year-old baby girl chose a plant with pretty pink flowers… which she proceeded to rip off of their stems after we planted them 😐 We have now replaced it with a succulent (which I’m going to try and propagate soon!)

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We always talk about how plants grow when planting seeds in the garden, and even my baby girl has learned so much from gardening. They love to help pull weeds and plant baby seeds. My son always kisses the seeds, carefully covers them with dirt, gives them a little pat, and we watch them grow over the next few months. It is just the sweetest thing.