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Go Wild! Exploring Nature With Your Child!

It’s summer time in Florida, that means…the kids are out of school and if you’re anything like me you want to keep them busy. Productively busy though, not just sitting in front of the TV for hours learning how to rescue the 14th castle – trapped princess in a row.

To help you make learning fun, and get the kids outside for a while, try out our Naturalist Notebook activity!  Through the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to show you how to turn any outdoor space into an awesome nature excursion with a different craft to add to your naturalist journal each time.  Read on for a list of supplies and your first journal activity.

You Will Need:

  • comfortable, light colored clothing
  • water
  • A plastic or cloth grocery bag
  • clear tape
  • googly eyes
  • markers
  • pencil
  • medium sized notebook
  • glue
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • comfortable shoes
  • hat
  • bug repellant
  • clear tape                                                                                  

What are the benefits of allowing children to explore nature in an unstructured fashion?

1.  Unstructured play enhances a child’s creative abilities.

2.  Unstructured play, where a child must ask questions, draw their own conclusions and “test out” the answer allows a child to engage in critical problem solving.

3.  They become natural risk takers as they work to solve problems.

4.  You build a strong relationship with your child as you provide  a safe and encouraging environment for them to “discover” answers and solve problems  ( you should avoid “giving” your child the answer, it will keep them from developing the skills listed in 1-3.  Instead, inquire with them and problem solve with them. Become their partner in this activity rather than their leader).
The Activity #1 – Naturalist Journal : Creating Leaf Critters

You and your child will need a notebook each (yes you should do the activity along with your child! As it turns out, play is good for grown ups too!). Visit our blog each week for a new activity for your journal.

STEPS:

1.  Head out on a nature hike, take your scissors & plastic bag.

2.  Walk around and collect interesting plant parts, leaves, stems, flowers etc.

3.  Place each clipping carefully in the bag.

4.  Bring the bag back home and spread out your plant clippings (See right)

5.  Begin to arrange your leaves to make a creature, use your imagination to create the shape and body parts of your creature.

6.  Glue your creature down (in your journal) and add on googly eyes, mouth, and any other details using construction paper or markers.

7.  Name your creature!

8.  Show off to family and friends.

posted by samantha in Parenting Tips and have No Comments

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