Friday, March 16, 2012

Nature study: pansies

Outdoor Hour Challenge from Handbook of Nature Study...

I think this first picture about sums up how excited my boys were about doing this pansy nature study.  They were so thrilled to be able to go to the garden center and pick out their very own pansy flower.  April was at piano, but she was pretty excited that we picked one for her too.  I put them on a tray so we could have them inside while we study them.  We may get a chance this weekend to plant them, but it has been so wet and rainy.

So, I was very excited about this nature study too because I knew where to find pansies!  And, they are so pretty.  I wanted to learn more about these flowers that we see all the time.   Boy did we learn a lot!

Like I said, this is a pretty excited kid.  This was the night after we bought the flowers.  Our nature study was going to be the next day.


We started with a walk.  I actually hadn't planned a walk because it has been so stormy and rainy.  It even snowed a little this week!  I didn't think the rain would let up, but it did!  And, it was a beautiful walk.  I was so glad that we actually got some outdoor time.

The kids were so excited to see all the beautiful blossoms just popping, and to see them up close.

This white tree had some limbs down low.  The rest of the tree is really high, but the kids found a low limb in the shrubbery.  So neat to see them up close.

They picked some...

I loved how Aric was showing me his 2 little blossoms.

We were on the look out for pansies, but we didn't see a lot.  We saw lots and lots of daffodils though...

When we arrived home we did some more pansy fun.  It was lunch time so I fixed the children lunch, and then while we were eating I read to them parts from the Handbook of Nature Study.  While I read they observed the pansies, and looked for the face.  They all saw the face right away.  Then we pulled one of the flowers apart to see the pansy man.  My kids thought it was funny that the flower had a pansy man.  Aaron was a little confused at first and thought there might be a real little man in there.  It really helped them to see when I took the petals off.

Then each child drew, or colored for the 3 year old, a picture of a pansy.  This is April's journal page.  She didn't think she could draw a pansy at first, but then she was amazed she did it!

Aaron wasn't sure he could do it either, but I told them to just keep trying.  They could certainly do something if they tried.  He set to work, and really wanted to make a nice picture.

This was his result.  He was very proud of himself!  He would check back with his flower to make sure he was drawing the details as correct as his 5 year old self could.  He even put a little black outline because there really was a thin black line all around the flower itself.

I found a purple pansy craft on dltk kids so that is what Aric did for his pansy picture.  He decided to make his blue though, like his flower.

Here is his finished pansy.  I had to help him color the darker parts a bit more.  I think we also got the bottom part of the mouth the wrong color, it was supposed to be dark blue as well.  Oh well.

We did one more little experiment for fun because we learned that pansies are edible.  I didn't want to make them just eat one because I wasn't sure if they'd go for that, so we made pansy ice cubes instead!

I had each child pick a flower off and put pieces in the ice tray, then I put water in it to freeze and try in a glass of water later. 

Time for the taste test.  The ice cubes looked really pretty, but I had a hard time getting a good picture of it.



The results...not bad!  Actually you couldn't really taste anything.  Maybe a little hint of bitter, but it tasted like water!  They all liked drinking pansy ice water though.

This study was so fun, and I'm so grateful to Barb for the inspiration and ideas.  You should check out her blog for some great nature study ideas if you haven't already.  Just click here.


  1. I really enjoyed seeing your pansy study! The look on your son's face is perfect. It looks like you all learned a lot and the journals are wonderful.

    I love the pansy printable you found and will share it on my blog. What a great idea to do the pansy ice cubes too...didn't even think of that.

    Thank you so much for sharing your day with the OHC carnival.

  2. We used to do so well with the outdoor hour challenges. But a few years ago I got poison oak on one of our outings and that has made me less enthusiastic about nature study. I got poison oak again recently just from playing at a neighborhood park. I get is so bad it just makes me nervous to head into wild places. I really need to get back into doing nature study. Me and my kids really liked it and learned so much. I need to overcome my fear of being outdoors and just fit it back into our schedule.

  3. Sea Star, I hear you about not keeping up with outdoor challenges! This is the first we've done in months. I was excited about this one because we could do most of it indoors. I'd be afraid to go out too with poison oak outbreaks like that, yikes. Sorry.

    Thanks Barb, glad you enjoyed it!

  4. The drawings and the other flowers and all that are all lovely, but I simply LOVE that first photo. ;)

  5. That is such a great idea to add in the edible factor!


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