Nature Study - February
updated April 18, 2021
Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!
This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.
Mission Statement - Consulting Services - Lending Library
for Bridge and Class 1/2
This is a continuation of my Nature Study page, with specific notes for February.
As a Bridge curriculum or for Nature study in grades 1 & 2, I recommend the Charlotte Mason-inspired
Exploring Nature with Children curriculum.
It is a downloadable PDF which you can choose to print or not, and the cost is just $18.00.
An optional companion book is Anna Botsford Comstock's
Handbook of Nature Study, which is also useful
for multiple years.
Handbook of Nature Study
by Anna Botsford Comstock
February - Week 1
A Toy Garden has lovely candle making kits:
Natural Beeswax Rolled Candle Making Kit
Beeswax Candle Pouring Kit
Make-It-Yourself Valentine Lantern Kit
Little Nancy Etticoat,
has a white petticoat,
and a red nose.
The longer she stands,
the shorter she grows.
~ candle ~
"Half Treats" idea from Tinkergarten
making shaving cream and baking soda "snow"
painting ice with salt and watercolors
Honeybee Winter Circle (PDF)
Little Brown Bulb puppetry (PDF)
my needle-felted little flower child is a snowdrop
starting a "Calendar of Firsts" in new Nature journal
changing out the Nature table, adding snowdrop flower fairy
by Julie Flett
Tell Me a Story
edited by Louise deForest
"The Snowdrop," p.31
The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies
by Cicely Mary Barker
"The Song of the Snowdrop Fairy," p.86
The Singing Year
by Candy Verney
"Snowdrop Down" song, page 3, track 1
past blog posts:
Feb 16, 2009 - Crocheted Little Brown Bulb with Roots
Feb 27, 2011 - Flower Fairy Patterns
Apr 12, 2016 - How to Needle Felt Lady Spring
Feb 4, 2018 - Odds & Ends & Updates of All Sorts
rolled candle, sand candle, earth candle
Feb 10, 2018 - Photos from the Classroom
Feb 7, 2019 - Candlemas Celebration ECE
dipped candle, floating candle, ice candle
Feb 11, 2019 - Photos from the Classroom
February - Week 2
some of this scientific information is incorrect
there are three Domains: Bacteria, Archaea, Eukaryeota
As it turns out, Kingdom applies really well to Eukaryotes. Kingdom doesn't really apply well to Prokaryotes (Bacteria, Archaea).
So now the Tree of Life is organized into Domains and one of the Domains contains four Kingdoms. Within Kingdom Animalia lies the earthworm.
Major domain Bacteria
Major domain Archaea
Major domain Eukaryeota
Archaea (Latin meaning - "the ancient ones") is the in-between. It is the stepping stone.
Many of the Archaea are extremophiles (meaning they love extreme environments) and often are thermophiles (meaning they love heat),
which is one of the ways that we know early life began before Earth completely cooled.
if you're making a vermicomposting bin (which I've done twice, once for home and once as a classroom pet in a Montessori school),
you want red wigglers
Uncle Jim's Worm Farm
250 Count Red Wiggler Live Composting Worms
as you can see from the directions in 'Round the Mulberry Bush,
we started with a spackle bucket as Martha Stewart recommended, so that it could fit easily in a kitchen cupboard
for my second "class pet" bin, I used a lower wider plastic tote bin with a lid, and it was much easier for
the children to move the newspaper around
and feed and watch the worms
Milk Jug Composter (PDF)
if you also have a 4th grader who is studying Zoology, "The Earthworm" lesson is on pages 36-37 of
Drawing from the Book of
Nature by Dennis Klocek, and Home Science Tools has a very good Earthworm Dissection Kit
Earthworms and Light experiment
Paton's Classic Wool Roving Yarn, Pale Blush
Knitting Pattern - Giant Gippsland Earthworm (PDF)
if your child is littler, you could also finger knit an earthworm
by Steve Jenkins
Giant Gippsland Earthworm, the largest earthworm in the world
Wiggling Worms at Work
by Wendy Pfeffer
A Log's Life
by Wendy Pfeffer
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
by Kate Messner
And the Good Brown Earth
by Kathy Henderson
Calm Down Boogie
by Betsy Rose
"Compost Cake" song, track 6
past blog posts:
February - Week 3
I do not believe that conifers "originated in cold climates." Conifers evolved during the late Carboniferous Period (Timeline of Life)
and really thrived and took off
during the Permian Period, which was mostly known for being extremely dry due to the formation of Pangaea. With the supercontinent being so massive,
and so many parts of it far from the ocean, the interior was largely desert. The end of the Permian is believed to have been the hottest time
period of all. I believe the conifers did well, not because "they originated
in cold climates," but because the needle-shape of the leaf and the waxy coating allowed the leaves to retain water extremely well.
I would also
point to the fact that fire plays an important role in many conifer forests, as they depend on its searing heat for regeneration.
Some conifers, including bald cypress, rely on flooding for their reproduction.
"Conifers are most abundant in cool temperate and boreal regions, where they are important timber trees and ornamentals,
but they are most diverse in warmer areas, including tropical mountains.... Conifers almost cover the globe,
from within the Arctic Circle to the limits of tree growth in the Southern Hemisphere."
"Why the Evergreen Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter"
by Florence Holbrook
from Buy Nothing Day 2019 (PDF) activities by Waldorf Publications
take a nature walk and look for every plant that is evergreen; sketch a leaf from each evergreen plant; compare
the shapes and look for similarities; what do you notice?
feel the surface of each evergreen leaf; what do you notice?
find a conifer that produces sticky resin: cedar, fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce, yew, larch
(if you have some, look at insects fossilized in amber)
do paintings of our beautiful magnolia tree (evergreen) and cypress tree (deciduous)
Coniferous trees tend to be evergreen but some are deciduous. Broadleaf trees tend to
be deciduous but some are evergreen.
explain that your baby teeth are also called your deciduous teeth because they fall out
observe evaporation: mix a portion of water and salt until the salt dissolves, then set
the dish in a warm place and let the water evaporate out over several days and leave the salt
I wonder: if you got two paper towels wet with the same amount of water and spread one out flat and rolled
the other one up tightly into a long thin tube, would the needle-shaped paper towel stay wet longer?
look at a vegetable (such as rutabaga) that has been waxed so that it will last longer
observe that oil and water do not mix: make up a bottle with both and shake it repeatedly
I wonder: if you set up two dishes, each with the same amount of water, and in one dish you poured
a thin layer of vegetable oil on the top of the water, and you placed them both in a warm place and watched
to see the water evaporate out, would the dish with the oil layer evaporate more slowly?
plants must have water! what happens if you give a plant sunshine and do not water it?
it will die...
not only of thirst but of starvation because
plants need water to make their food
how water moves through plants;
look at cross-section of celery stalk and find vascular bundles; do experiment with food coloring and a celery stalk with leaves
drawing bark activity from The Berenstain Bears' First Time Do-It! Book
right now is the time when the sap is running in the sugar maples at
Giant City State Park!
taste maple syrup and maple sugar
look at the tips of twigs around the yard... if they have new growth and/or new leaf buds they will be reddish... do a wet-on-wet watercolor
painting experience with Permanent Rose
look around your home... if you have a houseplant
that is a tree, does it keep its leaves in the winter? why? is this tree
naturally evergreen or is it deciduous
in its natural habitat?
is a cactus an evergreen? no, a cactus is not considered a tree because it doesn't have a woody stem (but it does have vascular
tissue to move water around)
observe succulents; how do they store water and why; break a leaf off an aloe plant
if you also have a 5th grader who is studying Botany,
here's my favorite Photosynthesis Activity (PDF)
All Year Round
by Ann Druitt, et al.
"Magic tufty cones" activity, page 48
Tell Me a Story
edited by Louise deForest
"The Little Pine Tree," p.107
by Jason Chin
Ancient Ones: The World of The Old-Growth Douglas Fir
by Barbara Bash
by Kathryn Lasky
Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus
by Barbara Bash
by Brenda Guiberson
Dig, Wait, Listen: A Desert Toad's Tale
by April Pulley Sayre
February - Week 4
A Field Trip, p.112
because of COVID we decided to take a virtual "field trip" to Yellowstone National Park
this is a place we plan to actually visit soon, so it will be fun to learn about it now
if you also have a 6th grader who is studying Geography, consider having your older child
choose a location, research it, and make a file
folder game for younger siblings to play
List of Animals of Yellowstone (Wikipedia)
The Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess
available FREE as an audiobook from Librivox at the link above
chap 12 - Paddy the Beaver
chap 23 - Digger the Badger
chap 25 - Little Joe Otter
chap 27 - Reddy Fox
chap 28 - Old Man Coyote, Howler the Wolf
chap 29 - Yowler the Bob Cat, Tufty the Canada Lynx
chap 30 - Puma the Panther
chap 31 - Bobby Coon
chap 32 - Buster Bear
chap 33 - Silvertip the Grizzly Bear
chap 35 - Lightfoot the White-tailed Deer, Forkhorn the Mule Deer
chap 36 - Bugler the Elk, Flathorns the Moose
chap 37 - Thunderfoot the Buffalo
chap 38 - Bighorn the Rocky Mountain Sheep, Billy the Rocky Mountain Goat
America the Beautiful quarters program - Yellowstone National Park (2nd quarter, 2010)
National Parks Commemorative Quarters Collector's Map
You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks
by Evan Turk
Who Pooped? A Matchimg & Memory Game
Eat Like a Bear
by April Pulley Sayre - brown bear (Ursus arctos)
by April Pulley Sayre - turkey vulture (Cathartes aura)
The Autumn Calf
by Jill Haukos - American bison (Bison bison)
Spike: The Story of a Whitetail Deer
by Robert McClung - white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Horns and Antlers
by Wilfrid Swancourt Bronson - elk (Cervus canadensis), moose (Alces alces) &
mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus)
by Wilfrid Swancourt Bronson - coyote (Canis latrans)
The Secret Life of the Red Fox
by Lawrence Pringle - red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
The Secret Life of the Skunk
by Lawrence Pringle - striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
Shadows of the Night: The Hidden World of the Little Brown Bat
by Barbara Bash - little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)
Patulous: The Prairie Rattlesnake
by Jonathan Kahn - prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
Picta: The Painted Turtle
by Virginia Frances Voight - painted turtle (Chrysemys picta)
River Otter at Autumn Lane
by Laura Gates Galvin - river otter (Lontra canadensis)
all of the books in the Smithsonian's Backyard series are excellent!
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