We have recently started using the Exploring Nature With Children curriculum. It’s a brilliant resource with weekly nature walk inspiration, extension activity ideas, and a list of secondary materials including poems, art works, fiction and non-fiction book lists, and classification information. We are unlikely to follow it strictly every week, but it’s a brilliant source of inspiration, and a good motivation to ensure we go on regular nature walks.
I thought I would try and share what we get up to whilst using the curriculum. This week’s theme is grasses so we headed out to our local park to see what we could find.
I packed some scissors with a pot of glue and a paintbrush in Frida’s nature walk bag so that she could make a collage with her finds. She strayed away from just gathering grasses and collected some wildflowers too – who could blame her! After she had collected enough she asked to sit and stick her finds into her journal. It went well until it started raining and I found myself trying to carry a sticky journal home without getting it too wet or sticking the pages together! Maybe next time we will save the collage part of the walk until we get home…
When we got home we spent some time looking at grasses in The Natural History Book and Nature Anatomy. I’ve mentioned it before but The Natural History Book is just the most amazing resource – it’s one of the few books that I would say is genuinely a must for anyone with young children, especially if you are homeschooling. We refer to it daily, using it to look up animals or plans we come across in our reading. It’s also been a great tool to do some impromptu language work with Frida, as each time we look something up we sound it out (and sometimes I write it out on the chalkboard, especially if it’s not a phonetic spelling) before looking it up in the book’s index.
Frida’s finished collage ended up looking pretty beautiful. It is a lovely simple snapshot of some of the colours we see daily, the colours of spring in our local area.
Although we didn’t strictly stick to grasses, it was great incentive to get out on a nature walk and get creative with our finds. As Frida can’t write or draw yet this kind of nature journalling works really well as a way for her to record her finds, and I think we will be doing more collages like this in future.
The next couple of weeks will focus on insects – caterpillars, butterflies, and ants – and I’m looking forward to them already.