This year we will be adding Nature Studies to our learning activities. While we already do this in a relaxed, unofficial way, I decided to make it more of a structured experience. In our school room, I set up a Nature Center to house all of our materials, supplies, and treasures.
One section holds all of our field guides and nature books. Here are some books that we find helpful and useful: Handbook of Nature Study, 15 Minutes Outside, The Usborne Complete First Book of Nature, Audubon Field Guide to the Southeastern States, Freshwater Fish of Georgia Field Guide, Birds of Georgia Field Guide, Who Pooped in the Black Hills (a guide to scat and tracks brought to us by grandparents after visiting the northwestern states).
We have a basket that holds their Nature Notebooks (blank sketch pads), which Old Crow likes to call his "Explorer Notebook." I included colored pencils, a magnifying glass, and I hope to add binoculars soon. This basket will make it easy to grab the supplies, add a few field guides, and carry it all out to our outdoor excursions. :)
I also placed Old Crow's Big Backyard magazines in a section. All the kiddos enjoy looking through these magazines and learning about the animals.
On top of the bookshelf we have a basket to hold the treasures we find outdoors. Currently in our basket we have a feather and a dead bumblebee in a zip lock bag.
Our roly poly terrarium also sits on the top shelf along with a bottle of water. The boys take turns keeping the terrarium moist for our creatures. ;) I also found two posters to hang in our nature center...one is on backyard birds and the other is backyard bugs.
I can't wait to see what else we add to our nature center. I follow the Handbook of Nature Study blog, and I am excited to join The Outdoor Hour activities. So I'm sure we will have many interesting things to add to our Explorer Notebook and "treasure basket."
There are other ways to set up your nature center if space is a concern. You could always place everything in a basket to leave in the corner of a room or place the basket on the fireplace hearth like Kristin shows here at her blog called Broom and Crown. Another suggestion would be to clear off one shelf in a bookcase, cabinet, or closet you already have in the house. Where there's a will, there's a way. ;)