Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chalk Garden

We have been spending a lot of time out doors lately, great time of year! With that we have been observing our garden space - the different leaves, flowers, bunching of plants for larger impact, discussing the different elements in a garden and dreaming of the perfect garden for Holly to enjoy.

Today she took that dream and created her own garden scene for art with chalks. I placed a large paper on he easel and she used our nice chalk set to create. First we reviewed our many talks over the past week or two, looked at several photos online together, read a book on gardens and then stacked a few good garden planning books around her. She then set to create... and a beautiful job she did!

Holly enjoyed using her easel, something she hasn't done for a bit - we'll have to keep it in for a couple weeks. She loves using the nice chalks too. Using these chalks has really helped her to learn blending and softening her lines... a messy experience for certain but oh so worth it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Me On The Map

We have been wrapping up some studies on maps, where we live in the world and making a connection to the big concept of a whole earth and where we fit in. While review continents and oceans we have really spent some time on North America, Washington state and our local community.

A fun book to help drive this concept home is Me On The Map by Joan Sweeny. It is easy and fun - yet really helps to solidify the bigger picture. We've read this a few times, talked about it and then Holly set to work creating her own little booklet of 'Holly On The Map'. It is done in layers starting with earth and working our way back to our home.

The layers are as follows:
  • Earth
  • North America
  • United States
  • Washington State
  • Puyallup Washington
  • My Home
She drew our her work and then colored them in! It was a fun little project that she really enjoyed creating!

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature

We recently purchased Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Mark Hearld from our local learning store. The minute I saw this book I thumbed the pages and immediately fell in love! So much so, that I didn't even look at the price of the book - I just bought it. The artwork is simply beautiful, the colors are rich and embracing, the whimsy is perfect and the poetry throughout is simply sweet!

This has been a great addition to our collection of books (and it is a HUGE collection) - but it is one we read a lot! There are so many different nature poems falling under many topics we cover all of the time, making it a great fit for our typical life style and a simple way to include just a bit more poetry. I adore poetry and the kids seem to really enjoy it too - so this book is a natural fit for us. It is a book I would recommend for any family who enjoys the natural world, art and poetry!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nature Club ~ Botany Scavenger Hunt

Last week we met up with our Nature Club friends and enjoyed a wonderful Botany Scavenger Hunt at a local park. This park offers some great nature trails that you can either enjoy lightly or really take off for a good, solid hike -- right in the middle of town. It is a great treasure in my community!

The Botany Scavenger hunt was found at this sight, Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop, there are several great links and project ideas at this site. I printed them and laminated them for forest use. We did some basic review of taking a finer look at the plant world around us, how to be kind in the woods, looked at the scavenger hunt while trying to match a few items I had preselected and then broke up into to teams to hunt.

Our team headed on up and immediately found a large array of different plants. Many different leaf style, seed pods, flowers and more! They would gently select items and bring them back to the chart in which they would work together to identify the style. It was a great teamwork experience as well as learning to take a much finer look at the world around them. We collected items and brought them back to nature journal and inspect closer.

This was a wonderful activity, one we will replicate again soon!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Camp Fire - Master Gardener Program

This past week our Camp Fire troop enjoyed a wonderful field trip to our local Master Gardeners outreach program. The grounds are just wonderfully done - demonstrating many varied styles of gardening from flowers to food, composting, irrigation and more! It is very hands on for the kids and truly designed with children in mind - so they can explore, touch, learn and grow in their skills and knowledge!!! On this field trip our kiddos finished up by making a little greenhouse from a bottle and planted seeds. A fun project to take home and watch grow.

Felted Rocks

We are still enjoying, very slowly, our journey through A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840 - this has been a GREAT book to read together. Taking our time has been really enjoyable as we can learn about items on a bit deeper level, enjoy some special projects and let it all soak in.

Today we finished rereading the section on harvesting wool and the uses for it. I have a plan to do a larger felting project for Holly but to start I decided to do a felted rock project. Felting rocks is super simple, fun and leaves you with a sweet little decorative rock to display. A small treasure!

First we chose a smooth river rock. Then Holly chose from our assortment of wool (Thank You to a friend of Bryan's who bought this for us to use, so very sweet!!!!). She broke off a few small chunks. We got a bowl of very warm, soapy water. Taking the rock you wrap it in your first wool choice, dip in the warm water and start forming it around the rock. You add layers as you work with it, making sure to agitate it so the wool fibers all grab and slowly form a solid piece. Keep adding wool and working it in the water, rolling it in your hands, lightly rubbing, rinsing and repeating. Once we had the desired look we then squeezed the water out the best we could, then in a small towel and let them to dry. 

They turned out great and were a lot of fun to do!!! Now she has a better understanding of what the final wool product can and will do... soon we will be starting a bigger project!