Nature Study – Erosion

Welcome to my 10 Days Series on the topic of nature study! Each of the ten days brings you a creative nature walk idea and a fun follow-up activity to spark your enthusiasm for nature study today!

Why study nature?

The answer is more serious than you might think.

Today’s nature study: Erosion

Erosion is a fantastic nature study topic!

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Creative Walk:

Yesterday, you enjoyed learning a little about erosion at the creek.  But, you don’t need a creek to find signs of erosion because they can be found just about anywhere in nature.  Because erosion can be caused by any type of running water (creeks, rivers, rain, etc), ice, wind and even the sun, it isn’t hard to find things that have been affected by it.

You only need a small area to observe today, say the size of a back yard or slightly larger.  You’ll be looking for any and all signs of erosion in the area.  Be sure to observe all types of nature and things made with natural materials – the ground, rocks, bricks, trees, concrete, asphalt…

Take with you a piece of graph paper on a clipboard and a pencil.  Your task is to walk around the space drawing a to-scale map of all the signs of erosion you can find.  Older children will want to add length, width and depth measurements to the map (for the activity to follow.)

Follow-up Activity:

Make a physical salt dough map using your to-scale map as a guide.  This means you will create a 3-D representation from dough that will look like a model of the area you observed on your erosion walk.  Once dry, you can paint the map, gluing fun features like soil and pebbles to make the map look more realistic.

Salt-Dough Map Recipe

Mix equal parts of flour and salt.  Add just enough water to make the dough feel like play dough.  Mold it to your liking using a sturdy piece of cardboard as your base.  Let it dry in the sun for several hours (or even a couple of days) until it feels hard on the outside.

Erosion is a fantastic nature study topic!

(Not a map of erosion, but the only salt-dough picture I could locate in my files.  I’ve added it to help give you an idea of a finished salt dough map.)

Read a Book of Two If You Like:

Be watchful. Some of these books promote millions of years.

Today’s erosion activities are just teeny-tiny sampling of similar ideas suggested in the NaturExplorers Everchanging Erosion study!

Erosion is a fantastic nature study topic!

Did you know my Facebook Friends often get special deals on NaturExplorers studies?  Join me there!


  1. Hi Cindy! My friends and I were at your Creative Nature Study session this past weekend in Cincinatti. We really enjoyed the session and the great nature study packets you have put together! I think we are even going to be starting a nature club soon. Thanks for these wonderful resources, they will make a great addition to our home school!

  2. A topic I never would’ve thought up myself, but very interesting! And I’ve always wanted to do a salt-dough-something! Thanks for the ideas : )

  3. This sounds very interesting…another great topic to add to our nature studies 🙂

  4. You’re welcome, Adrienne. Thank you for taking the time to stop by my workshop!!

  5. This is awesome! i’ve done this with a geography study before using that crayola self drying spongey stuff, it was cool. This looks WAY more fun than my 10yo who is in school just this year, and brought home worksheets on erosion that she was crying over not getting the answer right enough for her teacher to accept :/

  6. They all sound so interesting!

  7. I know the perfect spot to check this out! Thank you for a great two weeks! Praise GOd my leg is healing — it’s time to get these studies in motion!

  8. Great idea to use the salt dough map!

  9. Aw. Rebecca, it makes me so sad when kids get frustrated about learning because it’s boring or too rigid. I hope she enjoys all the fun summer fun she’ll have with you! 😉

  10. Sally, glad your leg is getting better!

  11. Sarah James says:

    I love the salt dough map idea! This looks like a really cool study.

  12. I guess I never thought about erosion and how we can find it other places! (I think I have A LOT to learn!) Thank you so much for this series and your studies! A friend an I got together with our kids on TH and went for a nature walk!! You’ve inspired us 🙂

  13. Hard to tell if the scarring and other obvious signs of movement on the hills around here have been caused by gradual erosion or some of the far too many earthquakes we’ve experienced over the past 18 months! Still it was an interesting activity.

  14. Aha! Now this we can do! We live right on the Ohio river and the erosion is soooo bad! Very easy to show this!

  15. Oh, no! Sorry to hear about your earthquakes!

  16. I’m so eager to know who won their pick of Nature Studies. I would imagine you contacted the winners by email but I am still holding out hope! Will you post the winners here?

  17. Chloe, I’m sorry. I posted the winners on Facebook and forgot to do it here! I’ll post right now.

  18. LOVE the salt dough map idea as follow up. How great is that?

  19. This is great! My civil engineer husband often sparks conversation over things like soil erosion as we travel the countryside. You’ve given us some terrific ideas for further study. Thank you.

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