Teach your children observational skills as you do this yourself. For example, highlight changes in seasons and nature every time you are outside; watch the leaves fall; experience the warmth, the cold, changes in light, length of day, and how much the wind is blowing; and observe how much or little rain falls and then talk about God’s design for seasons of growth and rest. Learn to observe weather in all its forms. Matthew 6:28 (AMP) says, “Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow.”

Intentionally let nature study be part of “school”—apart from conducting science experiments outside, have your child prepare a speech/report about your own bird gardens as part of your science studies, or do a work project when trying to attract birds to the garden, e.g., building a feeder, or teach your children how to prepare the garden soil for the new planting season—as you do it together.

Being outdoors is healthy and good and provides many informal learning opportunities with little effort! Both children and adults will benefit from being outdoors more. I truly believe God is revealing to us His character, wisdom, and wonder in nature, so getting out in nature often will have an impact on our souls and spirits. You will not be untouched when you “look out for God” in nature. Let us help our children also to have this experience as we allow them outdoor fun!

“The meadows are clothed with flocks, the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy and sing together” (Psalm 65:13, AMP).

Five Rules for Moms When Children Are Outside 

1. Let them get dirty! This is very important, and it will prevent grief (yours, not theirs) if you dress them appropriately beforehand.

2. Allow them some time to get into the play, even if it takes a while. Sometimes they need to warm up a bit before they really start to build “that dam” you suggested.

3. Allow them to do what they want to do. Sometimes they just want to sit a while on the swing. That is okay. Offer them that quiet time.

4. Encourage them to collect things. This is a hard one, and I agree that one should have limits and rules, e.g., snakes are not allowed in the house and spiders cannot roam free.

5. Permit them to explore and experiment with nature. This does not include allowing them to torture or destroy any animal or plant, but do allow them the odd breaking of a rock to see what is inside or carefully taking apart a flower or seed to analyse the intricate design for themselves.

I (Willemien Kruger) love the season of life I now live, as a South African homeschool mother of three precious children and happily married. I love to research and read wholesome, intelligent, and value-adding information, and I enjoy sharing what I learn. Find support to continuously improve your homeschool on my website, pointing YOU in the right direction, whether you are just starting out or have been doing this for a while.

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Publication date: April 11, 2014