Sometimes I feel I have failed Miss Charlotte Mason. This year I vow to do better. This year we will not skirt our Nature study responsibilities. This year we will be Nature Study Superheroes! Ok, well at least this year we will go outside.
I have been inspired lately by my dear friend Alex who blogs at Life on Island. She has an amazing Instagram account of all the beauty she discovers on Prince Edward Island. She gave me a fantastic idea for creating a Nature Study backpack.
Our 1st adventure with the Nature Study backpack was on our recent field trip with Hip Homeschool Moms to Ft. Caswell, NC. I was surprised by how useful it was, as were other homeschool moms. Each of us had a backpack that had everything we might need for a nature study.
What is in our Nature Study Backpack?
Since our field trip l have added a few things I thought would prove handy. So here’s what’s in our nature backpack: Click here for a printable shopping list.
- A sturdy backpack with lots of pockets
- Macro lens – This little thing has been so much fun! We’ve been able to zoom in on everything (that will stay still).
- Camera, phone or iPod – You need something to take all those cool pictures
- Waterproof case for the above – Seriously, even if you’re not going near water, you need this. I find it most useful just to keep my phone hanging around my neck so I don’t drop it. And they come in different colors, so you won’t be confused about whose phone is in the pouch.
- Ziploc bags (for holding all our finds) – Definitely need this. We collect a lot of stuff.
- Petri dish – Goes along with the Ziploc bags, but it is more useful for specimens that are delicate.
- Tape – to tape things in your sketch pads or to tape your petri dish closed.
- Sharpie Markers – to note what you found and where you found it on your bags or dishes.
- Sketch pads – We sketch bugs, landscapes, trees…whatever we can’t pack into our backpacks. Any sketch pad will do; this is just the one I like.
- Colored Pencils – you need these to sketch. You can use any brand you like.
- Pencil sharpeners – for when you break the pencils 😉
- Nature guides – We like the Peterson nature guides, too.
- Snacks – We like almonds, fruit snacks and granola bars for when you just can’t wait till dinner.
- Bottled water – It gets hot out there! Keep hydrated.
- Latex gloves – If you don’t mind touching the sometimes icky stuff, then you don’t need these. I, however, do need these.
- Water shoes – If you are going to be near water, these are a good idea. Just bring a plastic bag to put them in if you don’t want to wear them the rest of the day.
- Ponchos – I only throw these in if there’s a chance of rain.
- Hair ties – If you have long hair, these are a must. I don’t remember to put my hair up until I’m miserably hot and wish I had a hair band.
- Sunscreen – I usually pack a face stick and a body spray for when we need a quick application.
- Bug spray – This is a good idea if you are going to the woods or near water
- Cortisone & Ibuprofen – These are good for when you will be away from home for awhile.
How to make the Nature Study Backpack your own
Ok. So, I realize that sounds like a lot. You may find you don’t need all the items on the list or maybe you need more. Make your backpack your own. Just make it easy to grab and go with little to no preparation. That is the key for us to have a great time in nature.