Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Small hands, big world

When I feel I've lost my way and am out of touch with what lives outside my window (which actually happens to me quite often- several times a day, usually), we all head outside.  Regardless of the weather.  Sometimes it's a walk around the neighborhood or a more organized activity like a hike, but most often we just hang out in our yard, enjoying the space we inhabit.  Sometimes we just stay in our pajamas.
Nature Journaling in dinosaur jammies
One of my favorite things to do with my five year old is Nature Journaling.  We started when she was four, loosely following Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study (also available free in a digital format of your choice). 

I keep a backpack prepared for her with her binoculars, magnifying glass, colored pencils and journal.  The backpack usually lives in the car because it's the most common place I am when I wish I had it with me.  And yes, my Anna Comstock is actually in the car right now, too.

Journal, binoculars, magnifying glass, pencils and a subject to study
My Grace-Girl has drawn pine cones, butterflies, flowers, rocks, grasses, and, most recently, sunflowers.  I had her pick a specific flower to draw and study.  She went to work looking at it from all angles, examining it, understanding it.  First she drew the heads and leaves of the multi-headed sunflower, then she drew the entire plant as she saw it. We counted stems and leaves as well as flowers.  Here's the finished work.
Pages from the journal
Of course I had some books from the library on the topic in anticipation of the moment and we read them before we came out.  Back inside we finished our study of the sunflower with a nice craft I made up with cut out pictures of the plant's life cycle separated by arrows circling a sunflower we pasted together with bits of paper and actual sunflower seeds.  Fun.  
But back to Nature Study. Here is Baby Rain experiencing her natural world.  
Baby nature study
 It was warm this day and she had been playing in the hose water while sister worked on her journal. 

I'm mostly writing this to encourage myself not to forget to get outside, regardless of the weather or the incessantly needy state of my house (or my blog).  This is not what we do everyday, but it's what I strive to do most days.  :) Thanks for listening.  For more inspiration, check out this amazing blog with great Nature Journal challenges.


Bobbi Jean Ewing said...

Love the picture of the kids and their artwork. The naked picture made me laugh out lod.

Focused wonderer said...

Oh my gosh, Tori... this is so sweet! I love your blogs. Keep it up!!! WE WANT MORE!!!

Unknown said...

I loved reading your blogs. Keep it up Tori. WE WANT TO SEE MORE!!! Bless you so much for your dedication and obvious love for your husband, and your children. It was so neat to meet you.

Thru a Tori-lens said...

You guys are so sweet... thank you! I have tons of ideas for the blog- need to put them on the page! :) Keep checking in.