Nature Journaling with Preschoolers

 

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Recently I started nature journaling with my two oldest kids, Timmy (4) and Vera (3). This has been so much fun for all of us- not only do we get to spend time exploring the great outdoors, but it allows my kids to SLOW DOWN and observe the beauty of God’s creation. As they observe the intricacy of the natural world, they will hopefully grow in appreciation and awe of its beauty.

HOW WE NATURE JOURNAL

The actual journaling process is usually done in nature. We don’t bring our nature journals with us outside, mostly because I have three under 5 and if my one year old has anything to say in the matter, a peaceful sketch in nature isn’t happening. I find it much more enjoyable to walk and explore with my children as they collect treasures in buckets they carry.

We love to go on ‘nature hunts’, as we call them! We’re fortunate to live on a rather large piece of land full of wooded areas, gardens and wildflowers and there is a bay beach within walking distance. A local park or walking trail would be great, as well. As they gather, we talk about how things smell, feel, look and even sound. Even a tiny bug on a leaf is so fascinating for naturally curious kids!

With full buckets we head back indoors to more closely examine what we found. On our most recent nature hunt, my kids collected all shapes and sizes of rocks, sticks, leaves, flowers, bark, berries and wild flowers. .

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Timmy’s bucket.

 

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Beautiful flowers, specifically collected by a three year old.

 

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Vera is obsessed with flowers lately. I get a bouquet of flowers picked from our garden daily.

Their finds are removed from their buckets one at a time and examined. Again we talk about what it is, how it looks, how it feels, how it smells. Magnifying glasses are always fun to use, too!

Anyone with little ones knows just how many questions they ask and they had plenty of questions for me while examining their finds. So, out come nature books, field guides and Google. During our last journaling experience, my three year old learned the different parts of a flower, we researched names of some local wildflowers and my son learned the different parts of a leaf and what purpose the veins of a leaf serve. I love all the learning that naturally takes place!

Then the sketching happens. It’s during the sketching that even the smallest details do not go unnoticed

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Vera’s sketches of wildflowers.

 

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Timmy’s sketch of berries.

 

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Vera’s sketch of a vinca from the garden.

Nature journals don’t necessarily have to be kept in an actual journal. A notebook would work just fine. I prefer to let my children sketch on pieces of white paper and then store them in a three ring binder. Each has their own nature journal to add to after each nature hunt.

Allow your kids to be creative! Leaf rubbings, nature stamp-art, sketches, observations, pressed flowers and photographs are all great things to include in nature journals. The most important rule is that there are no rules!

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Pressed flowers, included in my daughter’s nature journal.

 

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Timmy’s leaf rubbing.

Make time for nature journaling with small children frequently and see for yourself the wonderful learning that ensues. Enjoy the time outdoors and memories made through nature journaling! I would love to hear about your own experiences with nature journaling with young children.

 

DIY Flower Lampshade

 

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I love making pretty, feminine things for my little girls’ room. What better touch than a fabric flower covered lampshade.

I will begin by stressing- this is an extremely time-consuming project! I spent several nights cutting fabric and gluing flowers together.The final result is so lovely though, that it more than made up for the hours spent. And it makes me feel better about binge watching TV in the evenings if I’m creating something beautiful. Keep reading!

Ripped and Torn Paper Collage

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I LOVE open-ended art projects for my toddler and preschooler. Sure, I love watching my kids paint pictures I draw, or color in their coloring books, or make things out of pipe cleaners and googly eyes, but there’s something so wonderful about watching them create when there is no expectation of some pre-determined outcome. Not only do  they get the chance to work on some important skills while creating art, but they are given the opportunity to be truly creative. Keep reading!

Abacus for Preschool Math

I purchased The Classic Wooden Abacus from Melissa and Doug a few months back to start “formally” teaching my four year old some early math.  He took to it right away. Children love to play with the abacus because of its beautiful color and the texture of the beads. Not only are they fun to look at and play with, but there are so many early math activities that can be done with an abacus.

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Keep reading!

No Bake Cinnamon Ornaments

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Want to fill your house with the delicious scent of cinnamon, have fun with the kids and make some simple Christmas ornaments? Then give these No Bake Cinnamon Ornaments a try!

This is a wonderful recipe- it requires NO BAKING, only four ingredients and takes only minutes to whip up a batch of dough. And the absolute best thing about this recipe is that the dough will make your home smell divine!

Keep reading!

Christmas Ornaments: Pom-Poms, Beads and Popsicle Sticks

The days may be becoming increasingly shorter, but being stuck in the house all day with three young kids can sometimes make each day seem incredibly long. Am I right? Making Christmas ornaments has quickly become our favorite go-to activity on these cold and dreary December afternoons.   Keep reading!

Simple Advent Traditions with Children

Does it seem that each year the holiday season gets busier and busier, and we get further away from the true meaning of the Advent and Christmas season? We’re often so busy preparing for Christmas that all focus on the liturgical season of Advent is lost.

Advent is, after all, a season of preparation for the coming of our Lord, and He does not want us to be stressed out about decking the halls. The best way to focus our attention on the season of Advent is to adopt or renew some simple Advent traditions in the home. So for all of my fellow busy mothers out there, I have prepared a list of meaningful and simple Advent activities that you can do as a Catholic Christian family. Keep reading!