Nature Appreciation Resources ~ Brave Writer Retreat

As mentioned in my last blog post, I am sharing with you a list of resources, books, and tools that I talked about during my Nature Appreciation workshop at the Brave Writer Retreat last week. 

If you attended the retreat, this is similar to the handout included in your folders, plus a few other bits of information! This blog post includes many clickable links, which couldn't be done with a piece of paper...ahhh technology! 

First, a few quotes to ponder:

“If getting our kids out into nature is a search for perfection, or is one more chore, then the belief in perfection and the chore defeats the joy. It’s a good thing to learn more about nature in order to share this knowledge with children; it’s even better if the adult and child learn about nature together. And it’s a lot more fun.” Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods.

“Consider nature study an adventure, a life-long achievement. Keep your eyes wide open for opportunities to discover new things that come into your everyday life.” Barb McCoy, Handbook of Nature Study Blog.

“It may not feel as if you are in nature when you walk through a city, but you are. All around you is a richly interconnected web involving nutrient exchange, competing interests, and cross-species communication. There’s an invisible world right in front of our noses, ready for exploration....To paraphrase Marcel Proust, the only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Nathanael Johnson, author of Unseen City.

“Some children are born naturalists, but even those who aren’t were born with a natural curiosity about the world and should be encouraged to observe nature.” Charlotte Mason. volume 2.

10 Simple Ways to Start Nature Study with Your Children

  1. Lay down on a patch of grass and look at clouds
  2. Do a seasonal nature scavenger hunt (google a list or make your own)
  3. Pick 2 topics of interests, one for you and one your children choice, head to the library and gather books on the subject, including fiction picture books
  4. Watch nature documentaries - Disney Nature or any narrated by David Attenborough
  5. Make your own bird feeders, observe your new visitors, notice their colours, beaks, size differences, behaviour. Identifying can come later!
  6. Look at the stars on a clear night, not during full moon
  7. Take a magnifying glass outside and observe the tiny world. Watch ants or spiders, look at flowers, leaves, and tree bark  up close
  8. Set up a bug hotel or a toad house in your backyard
  9. Go out on a rainy day and collect raindrops in a jar, observe how the water gathers on different surfaces
  10. Set up a nature table or tray with books, field guides, binoculars, and small collection of nature items like rocks, seashells, feathers

Field Guides

-Field guides for your region on topics of your interest!
A great way to find field guides are at library book sales and thrift stores.
The older guides are still usually accurate and sometimes have beautiful illustrations, at great prices!
-Usborne Spotter’s Guides (UK link, but helpful for the list and check your local Usborne seller!)
-Pocket Naturalist Guides Series. These are great for taking along on hikes as they are laminated, folded, and not heavy, while still providing useful information - available for so many locations and topics!

Nature Study Guides - Inspiration + Resources for Parents

-Colouring books, especially the nature themed from Dover Colouring Books

Great Nature Books for Kids

There are many wonderful nature books for children! Visit your public library or local book store and discover your new favourites. Here is a list to get you started:

-Books by Dianna Hutts Aston: A rock is Lively, A Butterly is Patient, An Egg is Quiet
-Books by Steve Jenkins: Egg, The Beetle Book, and others
-The Flower Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta
-Exploring the Night Sky by Terence Dickinson
-One Small Square series by Donald Silver

Inspiring + Helpful Websites

-Handbook of Nature Study Home of the Outdoor Hour Challenge *subscribe to her newsletter!
-Mud Puddles to Meteors  *Mud Puddles Nature Lab will re-open in August, wonderful for daily nature inspiration 
-Instagram - Search #naturestudy and be instantly inspired!
-Nature Study blog posts here! My family & I have enjoyed nature for years! I especially love this series I wrote last summer: Canadian Nature.
-Nature Study board on my Pinterest 

Websites + Documentaries


Tools & Gadgets

Binoculars  (link is to a helpful article on how to choose binoculars for kids)
Private Eye Loupe 

Photos of my kids enjoying nature from a few springs ago:
Celeste smelling wildflowers, Andre with a worm,
Adrienne crossing a creek and taking a photo on one of our walks
(note the headphones...a must for her on our nature walks)


  1. I love that Last Child in the Woods quote - it really speaks to me right now. I actually have that book on my shelf and haven't read it yet. I think I had better get on it!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I feel so privileged to be a part of your nature study post and workshop. I love what I do in sharing my passions with others and it is so nice to see it blossom and fruit in so many families like yours. Thank you for sharing my work with others...truly appreciate all you do as well.


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