New sneakers, backpacks, lunch bags, notebooks...these are the typical items on our back to school shopping lists.
But to truly get more nature into your child’s learning experience, make it as seamless as possible by stocking up on nature-based learning tools for your homeschool or child's classroom. From field kits to bird ID cards or scat replicas (which are sure to please most kids), these creative and educational gifts are sure to start the year off right!
Please note that Childhood by Nature receives no compensation from any of the sellers included in this list. We just like the products!
Butterfly Garden Kits For Raising Butterflies
Kids love to learn about butterfly life cycles. Using these kits, Butterfly Larvae grow into beautiful butterflies over the course of approximately two to three weeks. Kids can watch the development from caterpillar to chrysalis to beautiful Painted Lady butterflies. These butterfly kits include a coupon that you submit to the butterfly farm when you are ready to receive your caterpillars.
Cottontail Rabbit ScatCast® Replica
Acorn Naturalists’ ScatCast® replicas are arranged and cast from scat samples collected in the field. This life-size replica shows every detail found in the original specimen. Each is custom created using tough, natural-looking, non-toxic, flexible vinyl polymers that last for years. Many naturalists use these replicas to “seed” trails and then discuss “who was here,” predator/prey relationships, or diet preferences.
Leaves and Seeds of Trees Displays
This set includes carefully selected leaves and their matching freeze-dried seeds from 16 different types of trees have been mounted in plastic cases for learners to observe, compare and categorize. Each mount is labeled with the common and botanical names and has an informational backing with a range map and descriptions of the leaf arrangement, tree size, fruit type and habitat for each species. Real leaves and seeds will be sure to excite and inspire young botanists as they compare and contrast, discover and discuss.
Starry, Starry Day Constellation Keychain Activity Kit
Nature Watch has created and professionally die-cut cardboard medallions with holes to represent each individual star in a constellation. When light shines through the medallion, the image of the constellation appears. This can be done indoors using a single bulb flashlight to make the constellation visible on the wall or ceiling, or can be done outdoors on a bright sunny day to see the constellation on the ground.
Super Sunprint® Kit
The Super Sunprint® Kit from Acorn Naturalists utilizes a unique sun-sensitive paper that, after exposure, develops in tap water. Natural objects such as ferns, flowers, or leaves are placed under an acrylic cover (provided) and exposed to the sunlight. This kit contains fifteen sheets and one acrylic cover sheet.
Animal Food Chain Food Web Activity Kit
This Food Chain Activity Kit teaches children about the importance of food chains and provides a model for them to create and take home. Kids can color, cut out and glue the images onto the 5 tubes which represent different links in the chain; then, starting with the smallest, have each member of the model chain "eaten" by the next until all of them are "consumed" by the top member. Each tube "nests" within the next to vividly illustrate how a food chain works. Top and Bottom Caps are provided for easy storage by each child.
Build a Beaver Dam® Model Kit
While on the pricier range for class gifts, this Beaver Dam kit is an excellent and engaging STEM activity. Beavers have long used STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to build their amazing dams. This kit contains everything needed to design and replicate a working beaver dam. The challenge is to build one that is “leaky” yet retains enough water to form a pond. Connect with your school’s PTO to purchase a few of these for your child’s class.
Mortar and Pestle
This wooden mortar and pestle from Nature Play SA will spark curiosity, help develop mental and physical skills and lastly and most importantly – encourage children to learn while having fun. Kids can use the tool to grind or mash anything non-toxic in the garden. Flowers, herbs and grasses release aromas when ground that will engage the senses. Combine items with different consistencies and smells. Chalk can also be crushed in the mortar then by adding water children can experience making their own paint.
Monarch Rearing Kit
This Monarch Rearing Kit contains fourteen to sixteen first to third instar monarch larvae (caterpillars) and rearing instructions. The larvae arrive in small cups and must be transferred to milkweed plants or leaves to feed.
Monarch Watch Bookmarks
A back to school gift for the entire class to love. This Monarch Bookmark Pack includes a total of 60 bookmarks (10 each of 6 designs). Each bookmark (approximately 2" x 8") features a beautiful photo on the front and related information on the back. Themes include monarch conservation, monarch research, monarch facts, Monarch Waystations, and more! These bookmarks are a great way to promote monarch conservation awareness.
Worm Farm Observation Kit
Worm Farm Observation Kit lets kids of all ages take delight in observing the wiggly world of worms. This observation kit makes learning fun as kids can watch these ecosystem engineers dig tunnels, aerate the soil, and go through the worm life cycle in front of their eyes. A great opportunity to learn more about a worm’s importance in our ecosystem!