When we go out for the day, I often pack investigative tools such as binoculars, compasses and magnifying glassses. However, stopping every few minutes to get them out from a rucksack filled with coats and bottles of water can be frustrating, so I decided to put together some nature study bags for the children. I used Bagbase Mini Reporter bags because they are just the right size and the contents are easily accessible, and decorated them with iron-on patches.
Each bag contains the following items:
- thick and thin marker pens
- watercolour pan set
- A6 sketchbook
- clear tray with six magnifying pots
- bug pooter
- pocket microscope
- net for pond dipping or rockpooling.
We purchased many of our supplies from Wildforms, who sell a fantastic range of field equipment and educational products. Their customer service is great and they offer a 10% discount to home educators.
We try to carry field guides with us whenever possible. For younger children, the RSPB First Book set is lovely and simple for them to use, but doesn’t always have what we are looking for. We use Collins Complete British Wildlife as a general field guide, and I’ve started collecting the Collins Nature Guides series for more in-depth study. The Field Studies Council fold-out charts are also very useful.
These two aren’t field guides but I think they deserve a mention anyway.
I adore books by Mick Manning and Brita Granström, they really seem to understand how children think and what interests them. And the illustrations in Nature Adventures are just beautiful!
Keeping a Nature Journal is not a children’s book, but it’s inspiring and has a useful chapter on learning and teaching nature journaling. We’ve only just started our nature journals, so we have a lot to learn.
Finally, here are Aaron and Tabitha with their nature study bags at the allotment this afternoon.