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Nature Explorers Club: Horse Chestnut Tree

This week's theme for Nature Explorers  is Oak trees. We could not find an oak tree near us, so we did our study on an Aesculus hippocastanum, commonly known as the Horse Chestnut Tree.

Bark Rubbings

A Palmate Leaf

I explained to Mali and Elli that the horse chestnut tree has a palmate leaf and we counted the number of leaflets (7). Then Mali added a leaf to his leaf press for his collection.

First Sketches ~ Leaf

I had Mali and Elli each draw one of the leaves from the tree.


The seed of the horse chestnut tree, also called a conker is a hard brown nut found in a prickly casing. The green outer casing will turn brown and crack open revealing the conker inside. They fall from the tree when they are ripe in the autumn months. We found lots of empty casings in the grass beneath the tree, so we figure the squirrels like to eat them. We picked a few that had not fallen yet and opened them up to find the conkers inside. Some had many conkers inside, others only had one. We also opened up a conker to see what was inside. It looks like a little plant embryo.

Conkers is also a children's game in which each child has a conker on the end of a string and takes turns trying to break another's with it.

A hole is drilled in a large, hard conker (we used a yarn needle and poked it through). A piece of string is threaded through it about 10 inches long. A large knot is tied at one or both ends of the string to secure the conker.

The game is played between two people, each with a conker.

They take turns hitting each other's conker using their own. One player lets the conker dangle on the full length of the string while the other player swings their conker and hits.

I wonder if this is where the expression "conked" comes from!

Leaf Rubbings

Number Seven

Since there are 7 leaflets in a horse chestnut leaf, Mali made a number 7 with the leaflets.


  1. Chel-
    "conked" That was funny! Great post and what fun!

  2. Very very neat, looks like you guys had a lot of fun with it also :)

  3. I like the leaf prints! They turned out great! I would like to know how to make a leaf press. I think that is something my children would really enjoy. Did you make your own? Blessings and keep on having such fun!!!

  4. This kind of stuff makes homeschooling so fun!

  5. This is very neat! I remember chestnuts from my childhood, but I haven't seen them in US at all. Clearly we don't live in the right climate for them.

  6. Hello Fellow Crew Member! wow, we have a lot in common. Thanks for posting about your nature study!

  7. This looks like a lot of fun. I need to get back to doing more with nature study. Thanks for sharing what you've done as it encourages me.


  8. This is SO much fun! You have such beautiful leaves, trees and plants there.

    I would love to do these things with my kids!

  9. Hi Michelle, GREAT blog posts. This looks like so much fun. I sure would like to visit the Nature Explores Club that you linked to, but I am getting an error message that says that you have to be invited to read Blissful Moments blog. Were you invited? If so, can you get me an invitation? ;)

    Thanks so much

  10. Oh, I miss these so much! Jen is no longer hosting the Natures Explorers Club and has since made her blog private. These were so much fun though! We were using the book Nature for the Very Young. I wish I didn't need a meme to keep me motivated to do these kind of things!