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.

 

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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!

10 Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

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Tired of making turkey crafts with the kids? Yes, me too. You can only make so many turkeys, am I right? And besides, there is so much more to Thanksgiving than just turkeys. Try some of these 10 (non-turkey related) Thanksgiving inspired crafts with your little ones today. Keep reading!

We’re Going On A Leaf Hunt!

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I started our day by reading the wonderful children’s book, “We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt” by Steve Metzger. The book follows the story line of “Going on a Bear Hunt” in which the children in the book find different types of trees with different kinds of leaves as they hike through the forest. The kids loved this easy to read book!

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I thought it would be fun to go on our own leaf hunt at a beautiful local park. My little ones love going for walks and they love collecting leaves. Keep reading!

Homemade Bathtub Paint

Is it bath time or just play time in the bathtub? Make bath time a little more fun with a batch of homemade bathtub paint. I absolutely love messy play for the kids with super easy clean up for this tired mom!

Homemade Bathtub Paint

All you’ll need is:

  • paint or food coloring
  • shaving cream
  • dish soap (optional)
  • paintbrushes- or just use your hands to paint!

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Squirt some shaving cream into a muffin tin and add a little bit of paint or food coloring to each cup. Add a little bit of dish soap to each cup to help with clean up and prevent staining. Mix and you’re ready to have some fun!

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 This is always a big hit with the kids. They painted in the bathtub for quite some time!

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Our At Home Preschool: Valentine’s Day Theme

This post is entirely too late but I thought I would share our Valentine’s Day theme week. Late pregnancy exhaustion has a way of making you want to not get too much done and unfortunately my blog updates have suffered.

Our Valentine’s Day theme week was all about getting our hands dirty- both with arts and crafts and in the kitchen! I love the holidays and Valentine’s Day is no exception. The holidays always inspire me to bake and create. I hope to pass a love of these activities along to my children, as well.

We created some beautiful sun catchers with coffee filters, watered-down food coloring and eye droppers. Timmy enjoyed squirting the different colors on to the paper and watching the dye bleed together. He loves to remind me often that yellow and red make orange.

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Sponge painting was was a big hit with both of the kiddos! I cut heart shaped sponges for the kids and let them stamp away on white sheets of felt.

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I thought we could use the painted hearts to make Valentine’s Day cards for Timmy and Vera’s cousins. For the cards, we made pink marbled paper from food coloring and and shaving cream. It was such a fun and simple craft to do with both kids. You simply add a few drops of food coloring to a shallow dish of shaving cream and have the kids give the shaving cream a quick stir (so the food coloring isn’t completely blended). I had Timmy dip the card stock in the shaving cream and then I scraped the excess off the paper with the flat side of a knife blade. The paper needs to be dried under the weight of a few books. I think it looks so interesting.

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I attached the sponge painted hearts to cards made from the marbled paper. Cute and simple Valentine’s Day cards for the kids’ cousins!

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We made some yummy cupcakes together- pink frosting and red sprinkles are always a hit in the kitchen.

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I love to have the kids practice with lacing cards. I made some heart cards with foam sheets and twine. Even my littlest got in on the action.

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We had a fun week together. When I asked Timmy what he loves, he replied, “you, Mommy”. ❤ He made my week.