We use living science resources with our children in the early years for a more gentle method while preparing them to be ready for more in-depth science in middle/high school. We focus on life-cycles of animals, the seasons, weather, and all of “nature” with our elementary-aged children – without using any specific curriculum – for an introduction to high-school/college-prep science classes.
This homeschool science article is sponsored by CollegePrep Science.
Living Science (to me) is teaching through real-life experience, hands-on projects, literature (fiction/non-fiction), and creative activities that inspire a natural curiosity in young children to explore science. We don’t even need to call it “science”, but it is the kind of science elementary-level children will enjoy (no dry textbooks with quizzes at this age).
These are ideas for teaching science in the form of art lessons, textbooks that are easy for students to read on their own, living books that make great read alouds, DVDs, and resources about animal life cycles (easy for us to teach on our farm). If your children are entering middle school or high school, you’ll want to check out the sponsor of this homeschool science article for pre-college science and math classes available live or self-paced (more info at the end of this article).
I am not really a “science person”. However, I am excited to have found a way to make science work for my teaching style with my younger children by using a literature and arts approach – while preparing them for higher-level science/lab classes that I can enroll them in online for more advanced studies!
Some of our Favorite Nature-Study and Animal Science Resources For Young Children
Living Science | Literature & Arts-based Nature & Animal Science Resources
- Use textbooks that are full of colorful photos, short descriptions, detailed facts listed separately from the main content, and are written in a conversational style.
- Read literature that teaches about nature through fictional stories. Although the story is not true (such as talking animals, etc.), there is science woven into it, causing children to be intrigued by nature and animals.
- Keep reference-style books readily available for when a child has questions about a specific tree, animal, or insect.
- Documentary-style nature videos made for children are always a hit with my children. There are several Christian-based science companies creating these now and it’s awesome.
- Keep nature journals/blank notebooks on hand and encourage your children to draw, sketch, or write about what they discover in nature.
- Use art lessons that focus on animals and nature. This is great for artistic children to get some science lessons done while doing what they love.
- If you have a science-loving child, consider enrolling them in online classes for in-depth studies.
Thornton W. Burgess adventure series is delightful and full of character. They are secular, but the habitats and behavior of the animals are very interesting – a great introduction to nature and animal science for young children.
Apologia has science textbooks that are very easy for elementary children to read on their own – and interesting enough that they want to! I have slowly added to our collection of Apologia science books and the zoology series is one of our favorites. I often read from the textbooks with my children on our science days, but keep them readily available on our bookshelves for the children to explore whenever they want to. Often, when they encounter a new insect, plant, or animal they will turn to our Apologia textbooks to learn more about them.
These Pocket Books are packed full of facts and colorful photos of animals. They are super affordable and great to have on hand for all of your child’s questions.
Handbook of Nature Study is a book that is used as a reference or “look it up” resource. It comes in handy for all ages including high school level science. A very comprehensive guide to nature-study.
The Year At Maple Hill Farm is a great way to study the seasons and animals with younger kids. I love that it is all about farm life! We read the monthly description at the start of each new month and my children never tire of exploring the pictures of amazing artwork depicting farm life.
Christian Liberty Nature Readers books are referenced throughout the year and often what I read from on our science days. These are great Christ-centered science books! They include books from K through 5th-grade.
Buddy Davis’ Amazing Adventures: Swamp Man! is a really great DVD about the swamp and the creatures that reside there. Buddy sings some original songs and points the viewers to our amazing Creator! His entire series is really good and we own most of them.
Nature Journals are a great way to let the kids record what they learn through pictures, art, and words. We just use blank notebooks, but there are a lot of cute ready-made nature journals available to purchase. These are perfect for a Charlotte Mason homeschool method (a style I find myself becoming more and more drawn to through the years).
Draw Write Now Book 1: On the Farm, Kids and Critters, Storybook Characters is perfect for centering our art lessons around animals! We also use these handy art workbooks for the kids to draw and record their copywork.
Mike’s Inspiration Station DVD series has several art lessons on drawing animals in various formats (cartoon, charcoal, pastels, watercolor, etc.). We own and love his entire 12-DVD series!
Combining all of these resources over the course of several years creates a rich living-science approach for young children. We do not use all of these every day or even every week, but we do typically focus on something science-related two days per week in a structured setting during our morning time.
I find that life science and nature-study science introduce children to the joy of science and spark their interest in biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and physics. Their curiosity grows and they are prepared (excited) to dive into higher-level science classes when they enter middle/high school grades!
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