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In this post, I’ll introduce you to a unique twist on the standard homeschool nature curriculum that is engaging for kids and easy on parents: THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes. These boxes have encouraged my kids (and me!) to explore the outdoors in all new ways while making connections to other subjects, building character, and learning important life skills.
Watch the video podcast here or scroll on to read the full review and more about our experience with THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes. Disclosure: we received these boxes free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest review.
A Little About THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes
THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes can be used as a nature curriculum or outdoor education supplement for any age. It’s great to work on as a family with kids of multiple ages. They also offer homeschool lesson plans geared toward elementary kids with discussion questions and vocabulary appropriate for grades K-5.
The monthly boxes feature nature-based activities that take learning outdoors with lessons and extension activities that cover a variety of subjects related to the monthly theme. This subscription box delivers seasonal hands-on activities, guides, and lesson plans that focus on the outdoors and also extend into other subjects for integrated learning right to your door.
Using THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes as a Nature Curriculum
One of the benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility to take learning outdoors. My kids love getting into nature and exploring, but as a naturally non-outdoorsy person, I find it difficult to support my kids in digging deeper than simply making observations. Most nature curriculum available for homeschoolers is guidebook or workbook based, and that never really hooked my kids.
A couple years ago, we were excited (and impressed) when we tried THiNK OUTSiDE, and I am so excited for another go-round with these boxes! This quality curriculum gets my kids outside, learning, and making all kinds of connections – with no additional prep required from me.
Learn About Nature & Make Connections
The program is designed for homeschoolers and alternative schools and is also approved for use with certain charter schools. THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes would be great for use with a co-op too. Your kids get the opportunity to focus on nature and outdoor learning, get outside, and make connections to all sorts of topics while learning outdoor skills.
THiNK OUTSiDE covers nature studies plus other topics like creating art and music in the natural world, STEM, safety, character development and empathy, and critical thinking. You can also access monthly lesson plans online with learning objectives, discussion questions, and vocabulary related to the monthly theme.
No Prep for Parents!
Boxes follow seasonal themes, which we love. With kids 6-10, we’re always talking about seasonal changes and patterns. My kids love to shout out when they see “Signs of spring, Mom!” or “Look the first sign of fall!” The activities, guides, and lessons all coordinate with a monthly theme that you can see beforehand on the website. This makes planning exceptionally easy for me, and prep couldn’t be easier with everything you need delivered each month.
Quality, Materials to use Over Time
Each kit includes quality materials and there is plenty included to do multiple activities over a period of time. This is not the standard 30 minute one-and-done subscription box! One of the biggest things about these kits that impresses me (and my kids) is that the materials are real, outdoorsman-quality.
In our boxes we received many items my kids deemed keepers. Binoculars, first aid kit, and an awesome backpack with a water bladder that just fascinated my kids – just to name a few. But these items don’t have the look or feel of toys – it’s the real deal! This gives an sense of authenticity to he activities. With enough supplies and lasting equipment, one box works for our nature studies all month long. We found that many of the materials can (and will) be used for much longer.
What this Nature Curriculum Stand Out?
1. Unique Format
THiNK OUTSiDE provides a unique twist to your standard nature curriculum. My kids get so excited about their “surprise” boxes, so engagement is basically a given. The subscription box format is the first thing that really makes THiNK OUTSiDE stand out. Most other nature curriculum – most of which are either textbook or workbook based or entirely parent created. (I’m just not up for creating my own!) Subscription boxes are a great option especially when they come loaded with activities and materials you can use over time.
2. Detailed Instructions for Parents Who Aren’t “Outdoors-y”
I’m not an outdoorsy person, so I’m not always the best when it comes to outside lessons. No, I don’t know what that bug is or what you can make with those sticks. And before THiNK OUTSiDE‘s Fire Box I couldn’t build a fire to save my life. What I love about these boxes is the step-by-step support for teaching and learning in the outdoors. I can teach while learning alongside my kids.
The guides and cards inside each box show you how to use the materials correctly and safely. My favorite is the first aid box. We learned all about what was in the kit, why it’s important to have first aid available when you’re venturing into the outdoors, and had fun wrapping up each other’s arms and heads for our pretend injuries (must have been that invisible bear we ran into!).
3. Valuable Extension Activities
But there is more than just “how-to” in the activity booklet. (Calling it a booklet doesn’t do it justice – there’s a lot in there!) You’ll also find extension activities that go along with the materials in the box, and activities related to the monthly theme. These extensions go beyond nature studies into all kinds of other subjects and teach real life skills that all kids need to know.
For example, along with the first aid activities we also talked about:
- calling 9-1-1 in an emergency
- what we can do to be prepared
- how to make a stretcher, splint, and sling
- types of burns
- fighting a fever
- a national park in Haiti
- having empathy for people with disabilities
- and more
Will this Nature Curriculum Work for You?
THiNK OUTSiDE subscription boxes are great for families who are looking for a hands-on nature curriculum and more. These will work as either a year-long curriculum or a hands-on, nature-focused supplement. This program is engaging for kids, flexible enough to fit into any homeschool schedule, and convenient for you to teach. There is a ton included in each box between the materials, activity guide, and lesson plans. You’ll have enough to cover either a weeklong nature study each month or a once-weekly lesson, like Nature Study Fridays!
More nature studies from The Homeschool Resource Room:
Homeschool Nature Study: 35 FUN Activities for Kids!
Why have a nature classroom?
Books about Nature for Kids: 50+ Recommendations for all Ages!
Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.