Fall Nature Walks

Taking a Closer Look

As the weather has cooled, my little explorers have been hitting the trails and discovering some great nature finds. Collecting rocks, leaves, sticks, and other items allows children to practice observation and comparison, and this year, we were able to borrow great-grandpa’s microscope to let us more closely observe the structures and textures of our little treasures.  If your kids don’t have access to a microscope, I highly recommend purchasing one — they are not very expensive, last forever, and really help deepen kids’ understanding of biology and geology.

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A is for Acorn

Several weeks ago, our neighbors’ oak tree started dropping tiny green acorns, and my guys were on it, diligently collecting them by the pocketful.  Over time, the acorns turned brown and got bigger, and they naturally began a competition to see who could find the biggest acorn.  Eventually, the boys started noticing a few cracked ones and splitting them open to see the nuts inside.  In the park near our house, we discovered a rock bed along the trail that was littered with acorns.  When we returned after a few days of steady rain, the same acorns were sprouting like crazy!  As we collected them and tossed them out of the rocks onto better soil, we discussed all these questions:

  • Why do oak trees make acorns?
  • What is a root?
  • Why can’t they grow on the rocks?
  • Why is this one rotten?
  • Why are all the leaves falling off?
  • Why is it almost winter?

Back home, we discovered this beautiful little oak sapling with the acorn still attached!  Since he was trying to grow under our deck, we pulled him up and transplanted him to the woods nearby.  We wish him well!

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My kids could have heard from a teacher or read in a book that acorns grow into oak trees, but homeschooling gives them the time and freedom to see it for themselves!

What are your little explorers up to this fall?


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