Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. ~Frank Lloyd Wright
Moms seem to find their groove in their home or homeschool when they get in touch with their own loves and curiosities. And the importance and relief in showing our kids what we find worthy of our time, well, you that’s one of my most favorite things!
My natural inclinations run along the line of reading, science, nature and art so our home and homeschool are “heavy” on these.
I stumbled upon this magic power of alignment in our first fall of homeschool…when I nearly and quite effectively ran it all straight into the ground.
Since that time, if grumbles or cranky days visit for too long, I know I am moving in the wrong direction.
I need to fall back on what comes naturally and provides some fresh energy.
In our case, that means getting outside. Moving. Grooving. Looking. Poking. Gathering.
Love of Nature and Nature Study
Nature study has come to our rescue more times than I can count. And I can combine all our loves-art, outdoors, critters, mess–into one simple, soulful segment of our day.
Charlotte Mason, a progressive education pioneer many homeschool moms rely on for guidance and inspiration, encouraged taking children outside every day, whatever the weather. There are so many resources and opportunities to enhance outdoor nature study. We try to take full advantage and I am going to share our favorite resources, ideas and a fantastical project with you today!
I want you to have a leg up this fall so I’ve gathered together some of our most delightful resources to share as well as a super awesome nature craft perfect for the lovely fall days soon their way! Read on to find a super, duper STEAM project and how we keep nature study relaxed and rhythmic.
STEAM Project: Nature and Art
This project produces spectacular and surprising results with super simple materials.
What You Need
- white fabric
- acrylic paint
- paint brushes
- plant samples gathered on a nature walk
- plastic garbage bags
- sunshine and patience
- Gather nature finds. Especially focus on leaves, blossoms, fern fronds and other flat materials.
- Wet and wring out your fabric square and flatten onto your garbage bag work space. Choose a space in your yard, driveway, deck or patio that will receive nice bright sunlight for at least 4 hours.
- Thin acrylic paint with water–a nice ratio is 1:3 paint to water.
- Paint fabric square. Go for more wet than dry. Have fun with color mixing and combinations or variations of color strength.
- Place your materials into a cool design. Perhaps design with symmetry or patterns in mind if you want to extend or combine mathematical ideas, too. Veins of leaves and such should face up so materials can be flat against the fabric.
- Using water and a brush or finger, make certain flowers and other natural materials are flat on fabric.
- Clear out and go play or read for a few hours…
- Check back. Test your design by lifting your plants a tiny bit to see if a design is materializing.
- Once your design looks like it has taken shape, remove all plant materials.
- Viola! Enjoy the beauty of your fantastic creations!
Science: What Happened
Sooooo-what happened? Solar energy–that’s what! The reason wetter is better for this project is that the sun’s heat dries the unexposed fabric than that which is covered. But as it dries, the energy still is working to “wick” away any trace of moisture. As the heat dries to fabric, it is not only pulling the water but the paint pigment as well.
Nature study and art are a beautiful combination. Check that box marked STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math)! This makes a wonderful print to frame and to give away as a gift!
In order to find a groove, I need to have a loose plan for the week. When I look at what we enjoy and how to combine subjects to create an effective learning environment, I find we function best with a rhythm. It is not different for nature study. Our week has a nature study rhythm to it that we all look forward to and it includes observation, poetry, art, enrichment and sketching.
Next up…see how we find our rhythm and bring in poetry…click right down there—>