NaturExplorers is a series of 19 books for in-depth unit studies of nature topics that were written by Cindy West and Melissa Leach. Each of these studies is about 60 pages in length.

These unit studies incorporate real books, nature walks, outdoor activities, experiments, crafts, art projects, recipes, building projects, writing, research, poetry connections, Bible lessons, art study, music connections, and internet links. All of these are listed (and described) as possible activities rather than being presented as step-by-step lesson plans. It’s up to you to select the best activities for your situation. Some activities have explicit instructions while others are general suggestions for you to flesh out.

There are some activity pages included in each study. But, rather than typical worksheets, these tend to be charts, data recording sheets, or other pages that support the activities. You will probably want to have students create a binder where they can collect and organize their work.

Activities primarily target the elementary grades. However, each book also has a number of activities for younger and older students so that you can include the entire family to some extent for whichever topic you choose. In addition, each book offers some ideas for group activities for those who want to use a study with a co-op or larger group.

Background information near the beginning of each book gives the parent or teacher a head start on students before beginning study of a topic. While you might share some of this information with students in advance, it's more likely that you will draw on it as you work through various activities or encounter teachable moments.

One of the most valuable features of these studies is flexibility. You can do as much or as little as you like. Studies can be used in conjunction with other science curricula, or you can select titles to make your own year-long program. For example, you could use Constant Conifers, Delightful Deciduous Trees, Fruits and Nuts, and Wonderful Wildflowers for a year-long study on plants and trees with younger children. Then you could return to some of these titles a few years later, assigning more research, reading, and writing for older students.

While the authors have a Christian viewpoint, this is apparent primarily in a section of each study titled “Bible Lessons from His Creation,” rather than being threaded through the entirety of each book. The authors have avoided resources that talk about millions of years, with only a few exceptions which they note in advance for you.

In addition to the aforementioned titles, there are studies titled Animal Signs, Beautiful Birds, Butterflies Fly By, Captivating Clouds, Coping with the Cold, Everchanging Erosion, Flying Creatures of the Night, Frogs and Toads, A Fungus Among Us, Hard as a Rock, Incredible Creeks, Peaceful Ponds, Remarkable Rain, Snow and Ice, and Spectacular Spiders.

Cindy West has written other books related to nature. You can read my review of her book 100+ Easy and Fun Creative Nature Walks. Two other e-book studies she has written under the series title Nature Studies Through the Holidays are connected to the liturgical year and have Christian content. One is for the season of Advent and the other for Easter. These are briefer studies with only 32 pages each.

Pricing Information

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$16 each
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Instant Key

  • Need For Parent or Teacher Instruction: high
  • Learning Environment: group or family
  • Grade Level: grades PreK-8
  • Educational Methods: natural learning, hands-on, experiential, discussion, discovery or inquiry, creative activities, traditional activity pages or exercises, real books
  • Technology: PDF
  • Educational Approaches: unschooling or relaxed homeschooling, eclectic, Charlotte Mason
  • Religious Perspective: Christian

Publisher's Info

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