Morning time seems to be a buzz word lately. We have been doing a form of it for eleven years in our home I call table time. Anyway, you name it, it is a wonderful way for the family to be together at a specific time of day to read, write or learn about topics as a group.
Morning time looks different for every family. Ages, interests and what you deem as the most important things to cover will determine what you do each day and how long. Our morning time has changed as the boys have grown and it also changes with the seasons. In our Florida winter and spring, we sit on our back porch for table time. When it gets too hot, we move to the dining room table.
I believe it can become the most important part of the day. I was recently asked to give ideas on a simple nature morning time and what topics or lessons could be included. Here are my thoughts:
Seasonal poems, rhymes or songs old and new are wonderful to share with children. Some will become part of their repertoire for the rest of their lives. Poems that help remember seasons or days of the week. Rhymes that share childhood fun or songs that speak of nature, play and curious fun.
Use them as part of short daily copywork lessons that can span a week or more. Reciting daily or once a week during a month can help aid in memorizing if that is part of your routine.
Resources for this idea that we have used in our home:
Favorite Poems Old and New, Helen Ferris
A Child’s Calendar, John Updike
Poems to Read to the Very Young, Josette Frank
Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, Nicola Davies
Create an observation table, tray or shoe box. Gather items from your yard or walks in the neighborhood to observe throughout the week. Talk about their finds. Touch them, smell them and look at them with intention. Look up items that are unfamiliar.
Are the items some sort of seed, food for an animal or is it a man-made item.
Read aloud field guides for your area. Look up native trees, plants, flowers, insects, butterflies and birds. Spend a few minutes of your daily time learning more about the area live in or are visiting. Reading simple children’s books and chapter books on nature can start your children’s day in tune with the natural world.
Bible study in the form of children’s storybooks can bring thoughts on God’s creation to the forefront for the day. Our favorite is The Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell. The set we read is mine as a child which makes it special.
Create a family nature journal. Especially if your children are too young to really get into a nature journal by themselves. This is the perfect way for each to share what they viewed out the window or on a walk. Everyone does not have to write or draw in it daily. This is the perfect spot for mom to record thoughts during morning time too.
Morning time may get put on hold while traveling or weekend trips. However, it can also be a wonderful time to share thoughts on the trip and learn about local places you want to visit. Stop at welcome centers, ranger stations, nature preserves and museums to pick up brochures on local nature.
Spend your morning time reading through the brochures and discover what your temporary home has to offer. Often times the brochures are full color and include interesting facts that may lead to a new adventure for the family.
What is your family’s vision for morning time? At this stage in my boys’ life, 11 and 14, it is to get to know who they are, what they love and connect. Our morning time usually comes with fishing lures and a whittling project. It creates more conversation about their interests and plans for the day. Allowing children to be busy with their hands while you read can actually help them absorb what they are listening to. I had to learn to not let the sounds bother me and savor the noises of their hobbies. Create a simple nature morning time in your home. It will become moments to treasure in later years.
Using our books Blaze New Trails and the Student Companion can be worked into a family nature morning time with ease. These two new editions of our Math Adventures series are perfect for morning time activities: