Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Outdoor Hour: Cattails


Our first nature study of the new school year!  This week we began a seasonal study of cattails, observing a patch of the plants to see how they change with the seasons.  I had been staking out a cattail stand near some woods behind a local school for our studies.  We loaded up one afternoon, hit the nearby BK for some Icees and headed to the cattails.  Well, it turns out the stand is in a drainage ditch, not a little pond as I had suspected (or hoped really.)  And the ditch is surrounded by sticky vines and such so we didn’t get to get as close as I had wanted.

IMG_1573 Here they are in their summer glory!  I had the boys stand as close as we could get and make some observations, noting things like what they saw living in or nearby the cattails, what sounds they heard (other than coming from the highway lol) and etc.


Lucky for us ds2 tagged along and was willing to stretch out and snag us a part of a cattail to observe up close.  Of course the boys’ favorite part was the sharp tip sticking out the top (yes it’s true, boys will make weapons out of anything,) although the fluffy bits that you could peel off and have float away were a hit as well.

IMG_1607 IMG_1606

When we got home the boys made some drawings, ds3 is on the left and ds4 on the right.  We had found a website that detailed how to go about eating a cattail, but sadly mean old mom forbade that.  Since they couldn’t eat it or use it as a weapon, the cattail specimen has sat idly on the school table all week, awaiting daddy’s return from California to show it off anew.

If you are in need of a gentle, fun, hands-on and simple to execute nature study be sure and head over to Barb’s site.  Next week we will be observing summer weather (before summer slips away for another year.)


  1. Very sweet study! Our patch too, is in a drain, and a yucky one at that. But it has shown the boys what drains out of our lake. Yuck. We are enjoying just seeing how the plants and environment changes through the year. :)

  2. Great study even if it is in a drainage ditch. I have spied quite a few patches of cattails in drains this summer too. We have one we watch that is actually in a little creek (marshy area) that has very little water right now. I think it is interesting to note where they seem to grow best.

    I look forward to seeing your patch next season.

  3. Cute. I'm writing about living fossils. These look weird. I wonder....?


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