It already feels like ages ago, but just a few weeks ago we went for a long nature walk on the trails right by school! We are so lucky to have little oasis like these so close to us for a little retreat.
Each child got a bag to collect their goodies while they were walking. They picked up sticks, rocks, strips of bark, acorns and even a snail shell!
We stopped a few times along the way to talk about what we saw. The mossy trees were always an attraction to stop and feel the tree!
The biggest attraction was the creek, of course! There were a few perfect spots to stop and throw rocks, watch the water, and climb on large rocks next to the creek.
Once we made it back to school, we had a lot of nature items to use! The first thing we did was pull the large stick inside that the children found. I laid it on a piece of paper with different sets of acrylic paints. They went to town painting it over two days. They would sit down in different groups and work on all of the different sides and edges of the stick.
I wanted to use a variety of the materials at the same time. I made a clay invitation using small lumps of clay, beads, and their bags of nature items. They were so interested in the clay and it’s properties! We used clay only a small number of times last year, so it was neat to see them so interested in this art form.
The results of their nature clay sculptures were fantastic! After their clay dried Ms. Lori walked around the room and had each child talk about and describe their clay sculpture. The stories and names of the sculptures varied as widely as the children’s interests. Some children said they created race cars, fairy worlds, the beach, and some made themselves with the clay. We displayed our work on the block shelf for a few weeks.
Their final nature sculptures on display in the classroom:
Another art invitation I offered was painting bark and their leftover nature items with the acrylic paints. With the nice weather we have been having, I was able to set this invitation up outside for children to paint under the deck.
One of the last nature crafts we did after our nature walk was making fairy wands. This was a great fine motor activity! They had to slide the beads onto the sticks and then I wrapped them in ribbon. The fairy wands turned out great, but I learned the hard way that the weight of the beads and ribbon caused the wands to snap easily. My girls broke their wands very quickly! It is about the process, right?!!
After we finished the large branches I covered the paint in modge podge to seal in the paint. They have become pieces of art for our classroom, and I have incorporated them into fairy play in the block area.
I can’t wait for our next great outdoor adventure!