The year’s at the spring, and day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven; the hillside’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing; The snail’s on the thorn –
God’s in His Heaven – All’s right with the world!
One of my favorite subjects to teach at our homeschool co-op in the Spring is botany! Studying plants and flowers goes right along with the blossoming fields of the season.
In the past I have taught a simple plant study to younger kids, but this year I decided to try an older group. We watched videos, did hands-on dissection and experiments, and made a lapbook.
Free Homeschool Curriculum has a great list of lapbooks and unit studies about plants.
The most popular activity in my class was of course dissecting flowers. I brought in snapdragons and petunias (both complete flowers with all reproductive parts) and the kids identified each part and labeled them in their minibooks.
One thing that we were unable to do during class time but I highly suggested was going to a nearby park or nature center to discover local plantlife. Spring is the perfect time to do a flower and plant nature study!
Put together a dollar store botany kit
Some kids might be reluctant to go outside just to look for flowers and leaves. They might find it more engaging and exiting if they have their very own botanist kit to take along! They can even earn a real botanist badge on DIY.org by creating a kit and completing a few more projects.
We created our kit a few years ago when Denna was doing the botany badge on DIY. Since then we have used it whenever we go on our nature walks – even in Korea!
Recently we have been putting it to good use as she does projects to earn her flower badge for Junior Girl Scouts.
Why create a botany kit?
Just like a detective has a bag of tools, a botanist is like a plant detective. A botany kit contains items that can help you dissect, measure, identify, store, and document the various plant species and parts you find.
Here is a great article about creating a flower dissection kit and what you might use each tool for.
What to put in your botany kit
We bought everything for our botany kit at our local dollar store. Start with your container. You should pick something small enough to carry but sturdy enough to not get destroyed outside. A makeup bag works well for us because it has a plastic inner lining.
You can include many things in your kit depending on your child’s age and interest.
- Makeup bag, pencil bag, plastic tote, or sewing kit bag to hold all your tools
- A small plastic ruler to measure
- Small tweezers and something with a pointy end to dissect with (nail file, clay tool, etc.)
- Small scissors (we used a mini sewing kit that included scissors and tweezers)
- Containers to hold seeds, flowers, leaves, etc.
- A small pencil to make notes and sketch
- An unwrapped crayon to make rubbings
- A small notebook or some paper
- Magnifying glass
- Cardboard pieces and rubber bands for pressing flowers
You can also bring along a camera to document your finds.
Need some help getting started with nature studies? Handbook of Nature Study has awesome ideas and a whole section called Nature Study 101 to get you started.
I also enjoy browsing the Nature Study Homeschool Coop Pinterest board.
This is the perfect time to get out and discover all the wildflowers and new growth on the prairie, in the forest, and on the desert! Even if you can only go out in your yard you are sure to find a dandelion or clover.