With the beautiful weather before us, we are planning to spend most hours of the day outdoors. This does not mean we give up school time…no, no, no. This means we enjoy natural science! Our children love to be outside, and they love to draw, so keeping a nature journal come naturally. If you are new to this idea or just want some helpful tips with beautiful illustrations, you may enjoy this book: Keeping a Nature Journal. (Just take the references to man’s evolutionary need for nature with a grain of salt.)
For additional ideas for what to have in your child’s nature backpack for those long nature walks, you might consider looking at Home Science Tools.
They have pre-assembled nature backpacks for purchase, or you can put one together yourself with items you have around the house. We used some backpacks we had lying around the house, and I bought some sketch journals for the kids to get started on right away. I would recommend buying the flower press, however. Since we take great care not to ruin our books at home, we have found this to be a good purchase at a reasonable price.
Spring is here and our gardening has begun! #1 spies every kind of wild flower emerging from sleep and begs to know its name! #2 is exclaiming over every insect he finds, and #3 is covered from head to toe with dirt! #4 revels in the sunshine and the rustle of the breeze through the new leaves.
Garden Prep: We started raking the leaves off the garden and flower beds this week. We bought any seeds we did not already have stored away, and the cold frame is open and getting fresh air before its annual cleaning. We also have a few raised beds to mend before the May planting.
The children are anxious to start seeds in the cold frame this weekend, and we have quite the assortment of herbs, cool season plants, and flowers to start. First, we must wash last year’s seed trays and pots, though. March and April will be busy!
Admittedly, #2 always surprises me, and I cannot decide if it is because he has an older sister to learn from or if it is his very own genius. Unlike his sister, who is interested in landscape and floral arrangements, he is deeply interested in drawing men. Here is a picture from one month ago:
Since the above picture, my son has asked us time and time again to draw knights and pirates. Was he being lazy? Did he not want to draw his own? No… He was watching our every movement and learning how to draw! Here is a picture he drew early this week:
Here is a picture he drew at the end of the week:
With a family of six, it is rare that every single person wakes up cheerful and ready to conquer the day. One can expect that at least one person wakes up on the wrong side of the bed any given day…. often two people, rarely everyone. Rarely does happen, though, and it happened today.
After muscling through breakfast, teaching, and homeschool, the kids (and I) were clearly still in a bad mood. What was I to do?
I mustered my energy, cleaned off the table, covered it with plastic, and let the children go free with their water and paints. To my great surprise, they were peaceful and quiet, seemingly reflective and meditative. They painted the pictures in their minds as though they had been yearning to paint them for weeks.
The rest of the day was wonderful!
…until in the evening everyone had the stomach flu. That is life in a large family…
It is still Christmas at our house! It is still one more week until the three kings arrive on Epiphany! Thus, we are busy enjoying and soaking up the Christmas season with various crafts that center around Christmas. The children have been making more Christmas ornaments for our tree, and thanks to the book shown here, we had some fresh ideas that worked well for preschoolers and kindergarten children.
They simply colored their ornaments with markers, cut them out, glued them to cardstock, then added glitter glue. One hole punched at the top, and voila! They were so happy to hang their little creations on the tree as they sang “O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum”.
Great for children ages 2 and up! The illustrations keep the younger children interested as the older children listen with great interest. I would recommend this book to anyone using German at home.
As already mentioned, we are in full preparation mode for Christmas! We do not decorate in our house until Christmas Eve, so we have spent this week making Christmas ornaments and decorations as well as preparing those little things like fresh pumpkin puree for the Christmas cake.
The kids made some very simple Christmas ornaments, story ornaments. #1 tried to draw the nativity with stars and snowflakes. The frame is made from craft sticks (Popsicle sticks!), and her two drawings were made on squares that were hot-glued to the sticks, one on each side. After this was finished, she was allowed to pick out some trimmings, which were then hot-glued as well. Her brothers made very abstract representations of the nativity as well, and they are all quite proud of their work and excited to hang them tomorrow on our tree!
This week we have been focusing on crafts, making Christmas cards, Christmas tree ornaments, and some things just for a little laugh. Over the weekend, the kids enjoyed making paper-bag puppets. This is a very simple project and can be done for pennies!
Next time you go to the grocery store, request a small paper bag or two for your smaller items. These can then be used. Otherwise, the Dollar Tree sells a pack of 5 for $1.
Use crayons or paint to draw animals on your bags. Be creative and have fun!
Do you frequently get flower, garden, and bulb magazines in the mail? We certainly do, and we finally found a fun use for all their beautiful pictures! My daughter had cut out the flowers from such a sales magazine, so we decided to finally do something with the cut-outs. It all started out as a regular collage, but then we were talking so much about “in front” and “behind” that I realized this project would make a wonderful introduction to foreground and background in art.
- 1 blue piece of construction paper
- 1 glue stick
- 1 white piece of construction paper (leftover from another project)
- flower cut-outs
First, cut out a fence from white construction paper and glue it to your blue construction paper. Then, have your child glue flowers from a magazine “in front” of the fence. Once she has finished with this, have your child (with your help perhaps) draw a house “behind” the fence. As she colors the house, continue to remind her not to color over the fence, since the house is behind the fence.
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