Seed Study: Collecting and Sorting

seed-study

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It also contains links to previous posts to give you even more ideas…
happy reading!

It’s that time!!  Fall is upon us, and here in South Texas we’ve finally had a couple days with highs below 80F!  It’s actually jacket weather in the early mornings, and it’s going to be time very soon for this gardener to get back outside and clean up my flower beds that turned to weeds in the heat of the summer.  Becca has been feeling the change in the air, too… and has been begging to get outside and explore again, which is awesome!

A few weeks back (in the heat of the summer when we spent a LOT of time in the cool of The DoSeum), I came across this book in their library and fell in love.  (A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston) I ordered it for “such a time as this” and the other day we pulled it out to read before going on a seed hunt!  Becca was so excited to see our Texas Mountain Laurel seeds on the front cover- since our property is simply covered in Mountain Laurels!  I love that the author incorporates LOTS of different plant seeds, talks about how various seeds are transferred and planted naturally, and also shows timelines of how long various seeds take to sprout and produce fruit!  The illustrations by Sylvia Long are gorgeous, and it’s definitely a page turner that Becca loved – she begged to read it again when we got back inside, and also used it as a reference guide on our walk when she had questions.  (And I can’t wait to get more of Dianna’s books – she has several that I’ve added to our wishlist!)

So what did we do exactly?  First, we read the book.  Then, we grabbed a bucket and headed outside with Daisy.  We looked everywhere for seeds.  At first, she was just seeing Mountain Laurels and acorns on the ground.  But then her eye started getting more keen and she started looking AROUND instead of just down.  And then she started looking UP!  She was amazed at all of the seeds everywhere!  We collected seeds along our way through our nature trail (we live on an acre and a half of very wooded land), and then before we came inside, I showed her that Daisy had been collecting seeds for us, too!  What a fabulous way to see how animals transfer seeds!  She was in awe.  (If you don’t have this availability on your property, take a trip to your local wooded park or along the bank of the closest stream, etc.)

So, we brought our seeds inside, and then sorted them by the seeds that were obviously just seeds, and by what looked to be seeds inside seed pods.  We talked about how the pods don’t drop their seed until just the right time, and she explored opening a couple of the pods and discovered that they didn’t all have seeds!  One had a spider web, and it appeared the spider had probably eaten the seeds early on.  Another had shriveled, tiny seeds.  And yet another had a whole, healthy seed.  It was a great way to talk about how appearances on the outside aren’t everything – all of the seed pods looked the same on the outside.  She was ready to move on to a different activity, so I didn’t dwell on the character lesson, but the seed did get planted, so to speak. 😉

There was also a door left open to do more research about seeds – she wasn’t sure if the flowers that had seeds in their centers were considered seed pods or not, and she wasn’t sure about a couple of the weeds that we collected – and wants to know how their seeds get transferred.  So, there is plenty of room for more discussion and research, which we will do at the library next time.

There is also room to go back and review the sunflower life cycle unit that we did last fall – so glad I laminated everything! 🙂 (not an affiliate link, just giving credit where credit is due – it’s a great unit she has set up!)

What are you doing to get your kids outside as the weather begins to turn cooler?  Here are some other fall ideas you might enjoy!

Fall Tree Activities

Leaves
Leaf collection in your yard or a local park
Sorting by color/size/shape
Pressing/Leaf art
Books:
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert   My post about Leaf Man
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

Apples
Apple picking at a local orchard (or even the grocery store if you don’t have an orchard close by)
Sorting by color and/or size (order largest to smallest)
Counting (put in groups to add, subtract, or even multiply or divide)
Making applesauce
Also check out my apple theme box here
And my apple activity center here
Books:
Apple Picking Day by Candice Ransom
Apples by Gail Gibbons

Pumpkins
Pumpkin selection at a pumpkin patch
Cut one open, sort and count seeds after estimating how many are inside
Making a jack-o-lantern, talk about what facial expressions say about our emotions
Books:
The Legend of Spookley The Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano
The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons

Never can get enough books?  Me neither!  Check out more of our favorite Fall Reads here!

Magnet Exploration

I recently signed Gray up to take a class at The DoSeum – our local children’s museum that I have written about before.  The class is called “Little Makers” and it’s basically a science and engineering class for toddlers 18-36 months old.  Yesterday was our first class.  Not only did Gray have a blast, I came away very inspired…
magnets at the dose

His teacher, Ms Cheryl, had all sorts of magnets for the kids to explore with.  The invitation to play was simply a box of random items and a couple of magnet wands.  Gray immediately dug in and was ready to explore!  She had extension activities for those who were interested in sorting their magnetic vs non-magnetic items, and blank paper “journals” for any who wanted to draw/write their thoughts.  Gray enjoyed sorting his magnetic/non-magnetic items, and eagerly sat in my lap to sort them!  He enjoyed playing with magnets on the classroom divider wall, and of course he loved the story – Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is one of our family favorites!  (Aff link, thank you!)  Then after class he enjoyed going to the Kaleidoscope play area and spending more time with the MagnaTiles there.  (Aff link, thank you!)  All of the magnet play inspired me, and we ended up purchasing our own set of  MagnaTiles to take home with us.

While he napped, here’s what I set up for when we got home from picking up Sis from Mother’s Day Out:

magnets at home The invitation to play was simple – a box full of random items both magnetic and non-magnetic, and a bunch of MagnaTiles.  When we got home, Becca immediately hopped up into her chair and started playing.  Without me even showing her or telling her what to do, she started testing items to see if they are magnetic.  Today, I’ll give her the same activity with a sheet of paper similar to what Gray had for sorting at the DoSeum and let her sort her items based on whether they are magnetic or not.  Gray also immediately dove in and really enjoyed the activity again at home in our little variation.

reality check

Because I’m all about being honest with you and telling you what works and what doesn’t work, this is NOT an activity for your toddler to do unsupervised.  I thought I’d take advantage of them being so engaged, and I’d do the dishes… well, then I looked over and he had something in his mouth.  Thankfully, it was just a pompom – not a magnetic item, but because he’s cutting a couple of new teeth right now, I can’t give him the box unsupervised.  This is an activity to do when I’m sitting right with him.  To buy myself some more time, I simply removed the box from his reach and let him play with the MagnaTiles.  He LOVES building with the MagnaTiles and that easily occupied him for the rest of the time I needed him to be occupied until I could join him at the table and let him have the box back with close supervision.

MAKING THE BOX
Here are some ideas of what you could put in your box.  I used the following items that I had laying around randomly here:
-Colored Rice (non)
-Mixed beans and corn from an old fall sensory bin (non)
-Paperclips (magnetic)
-Paper brads (magnetic)
-Refrigerator magnets (magnetic)
-Feathers (non)
-Pipe cleaners, cut into pieces (magnetic)
-Jingle bells (magnetic)
-PomPoms (non)
-Play plastic coins (non)
-Foam blocks (non)
-Fruit pouch lids (non)
-Plastic stackers (non)

Here are some other fun magnet activity sets that we have and enjoy (Aff links, thank you!):
MindWare Imagination Patterns (Becca got this for Christmas and loves it!  Gray has not used these… but easily could – they are large enough to be toddler safe, she’s just very possessive of them.) UPDATE: Gray loves playing with this set!  There are a couple of small circles that I take out of the set when he plays with it.
Magz51 New Interlocking Toy Building Set (NOT toddler safe)
Magnetic Spinning Gears (Both kids LOVE this set!)
Lauri – Fun with Magnets (I have this set on order and can’t wait for it to arrive!)

more fun with magnets
update 4/7/16: He loves playing with the Imagination Patterns AND the MagnaTiles together because the Imagination Patterns board allows the MagnaTiles to stand upright for vertical fun!

Children’s books about magnets (Aff links, thank you!):
What Makes a Magnet?
What Magnets Can Do
Magnets: Pulling Together Pushing Apart

What fun magnetic activities have you done?  The kids are totally enthralled and I’m looking forward to finding more fun magnet activities! I also think Becca would enjoy going on a magnetic hunt to test different household objects to see which are magnetic and non-magnetic… we may do that today!

 

Our Penguin Unit

Throughout this post there will be a variety of links.  Some will be to other websites or files for you to download.  All sources are credited where necessary.  There will also be affiliate links which will be denoted with (aff link).  When you choose to click on these links to purchase items, I make a tiny % of the sale profit off of that item.  That goes to helping keep this blog alive.  Thank you for your purchases.

So of course this blog post wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of back story.  I’ve said previously that I’m great about setting goals, but not so great about putting the nose to the grindstone and actually making them happen.  But this year that is going to change!  Because I’ve switched my focus from super long term objectives, so short term monthly objectives.  Especially when it comes to school at home.  Becca’s love for learning is voracious. She keeps me on my toes at all times.  She constantly is begging for more activities, more books, and asking more and more and yes, more! questions.  Since having her own dictionary and LOTS of other non-fiction reference books in her room the questions have backed off a little bit, but not entirely.  She just can’t learn enough, fast enough.

I used to stress out thinking that homeschool needed to look like me sitting down with her all day and actually doing instruction time.  All day.  Boy doesn’t THAT sound like a nightmare with a child who has SPD and has to move ALL. THE. TIME.  Except when she doesn’t because she needs to be wrapped tightly in a blanket and suck on her finger.  But then this fall I read a book that truly changed the way I think about homeschool.  I realized that what it looks like for somebody else isn’t going to be what it looks like for us.  And that is OK!  (Thanks again to Alicia Michelle from Your Vibrant Family for your encouragement and support every step of the way!  I believe I CAN do this homeschooling thing as long as I have to!  Which I not-so-secretly hope is not very long!!)

Anyway, I discovered that I can plan a STACK of activities for Becca and we can sit down and do them in an hour, or an hour and a half.  And then we are done.  I’m now realizing – that’s ok!  We go at her pace, I tell her what activities we’ll be doing, and she selects which order we do them in.  She gets to take breaks between them if she so desires, and play with learning games, engineering materials, etc.  (All of her breaks are STEAM breaks of some sort.)  When she is done, we take a STEAM break (want some STEAM activity ideas?)…  Then we get back at it.  All the while, Brother can play in his room on his own, and is perfectly content since it’s no more than an hour and a half time block.  (Yes, I am blessed!)

So back to those goals – I decided that it was time to do a thematic unit from start to finish.  And actually finish.  So I gave us two weeks.  Which was a perfect time frame.  She goes to Mother’s Day Out a couple days a week, and we often don’t do “school work” on those days, though sometimes we do.  Just depends.  I like having the flexibility to let her be three and a half, while also letting her brain be whatever age it happens to be that day.

learning about penguins

So the past couple of weeks we have been learning about penguins.  I first told her we were going to make a mystery picture to find out what we were learning about.  Granted, this took a little bit longer than her attention span, but I kept it exciting for her by asking her which block to color next, and we traded off who colored and who read the letter/number combos, and who found the right block to color.  We got to a certain point on it, and the light bulb came on!  “We’re gonna learn about penguins!  Like in my Magic Treehouse Book Eve of the Emperor Penguin!” (aff link)  She was so excited she was literally jumping up and down in her chair.

We sat together (she often sits in my lap while we do school) and talked about all she already knew about penguins (which was actually a good deal) and then we both came up with some questions we wanted to answer about them.  I wrote down what she dictated to me on one of the graphic organizers, and then we talked about another way to organize our thoughts – with flaps.

graphic organizers

She really enjoyed the flaps, which I cut from one file and attached onto another.  (Hey, teaching is all about getting creative, right?)  All of the files I used will be linked in a list below.  All were found on teacherspayteachers.com as freebie files.  Later in our study, we talked about how we can also organize our thoughts into a web format.  She decided that for her, she prefers flaps as her method of thought organization.  She especially liked having the definitions of the penguin vocabulary words behind a flap, so that she could easily just flip and see the one she wanted to see.

coming soon

You might have seen this picture if you follow my page on Facebook.  This was one of her favorite parts of the unit of study.  I modified her old Antarctic Habitat Box to be just rock salt and white rice (less messy), and she not only got to have free play time with the penguins and their blue activity tray (aka water), but she also used the penguins (want to get your own set? Click here – aff link) and her penguin word bank sheet to sort and classify them.  We pulled a few prey and predators from our ocean habitat box as well.  She enjoyed acting out the food chain in her habitat, pretending the penguin ate a fish, and then a leopard seal ate the penguin.  Morbid?  No.  Not at all.  She is fully immersed in how the animal kingdom functions.

penguin reference guide

Then, we took all of the worksheets we completed and compiled them into a book.  She drew her version of a penguin on white card stock paper for the cover, and I even stapled onto the back cover her story book that she dictated to me.  Not only does it serve as a mini-portfolio of her work, it’s also a great reference guide for her in the future.  She is so proud to have it on her bookshelf in her room.  (And she took it to Mother’s Day Out to show her teacher and coordinator!)  We also wrote on the back cover the title and author of the two reference books we used (Penguins by Emily Bone, and Nat Geo Kids Reader – Penguins aff link).  We also listed the YouTube video we watched to learn more about a crèche, and the fabulous online resource of the New England Aquarium, where we saw amazing penguin pictures (we found them when searching for “molting”) and learned more about penguins in captivity.  It was important to me that she start learning the importance of sighting her references when she does research.  We didn’t go into formal sighting rules, just listed them so they are credited and we could go back to them in the future.

And now, to give more credit where credit is due, here are the links to the files that I used from TPT.  Again, they were all freebies, so I can share them with you, but please realize that these are NOT my creations – each creator has a page within the file that gives her credit for her work.  And each of these files is WONDERFUL!  I’m so thankful for a resource like TPT to find fabulous content for our projects!

Penguin Mystery Picture Graph

Penguin Word Bank 

All About Penguins

Flip Flap Fun

Penguin Pre-Writing Fun

Did you like this post or find it helpful?  Please comment and feel free to share on social media!  I’d love to see how you’ve used these ideas to help your own students!  Follow my Facebook page here.  Check me out on Pinterest here.  And now also on Instagram!

Christmas Activities

I debated about how to do this post – if I should put everything separate so it doesn’t seem overwhelming, or just put it all together.  I decided it’s easier to reference later if it’s all together… and honestly, if I wait on some things until later, you have less time to do them with your kids!  So… get ready.  I’m about to bombard you with a bunch of fun ideas – the first several will be great for even your little toddlers, and the rest will be geared toward your older kiddos.

Many of these activities I have stored in little plastic bags and all inside a storage box (in fact, the same box that once held our Apple Activities).  But a couple of them are ready at the window any time one of the kids wants them.  The great thing about the activities in the box is that while Becca is working on her activities, she can select something from the box for Gray to do, to appease his desire to do what she is doing.  She can also interact with him on his activities, and I love watching the tender moments they share (which usually come right before a snatch-grab-cry-scream fest HA!) together when working on a project.  If you have a toddler and an older child, you know how hard it is to find something they can both do either together, or to keep the little one occupied while the older one does something different.  This box of activities seems to be my best effort yet in this department.. and is about 80% effective!   So, here we go!  Let me know if you try any of these with your kids!  I’d love to see you share pictures on my Facebook page, as well!

sticky window

The Christmas Tree Sticky Window is super simple to make – just draw a Christmas tree onto a piece of clear contact paper, and then attach it to your window with tape – so that the sticky side is out.   Then, cut various shapes out of felt or other fabric (so that they won’t adhere permanently) and let your kids decorate the tree over and over again!  While Becca enjoyed this activity at first, this is definitely a Grayson favorite.  He LOVES standing at the window and moving the shapes around.  Of course, he also loves to carry the shapes all over the house and leave them random places…

shape identification

This felt Christmas tree was a busy bag I made a few years ago at a MOPS meeting – simply by cutting shapes from various colors of felt.  It’s a great activity for the kids to do together – Becca loves to tell Gray the names of the shapes and their colors.  She likes to make patterns of ornaments – he likes to throw them in the air and watch them rain down around him.  Either way, they are happily occupied.

writing coloring

In an effort to provide activity for Gray AND Becca in the same box, I have a couple of Christmas coloring books and some blank paper that either of them can enjoy, but I also have magnetic Christmas words that Becca can spell, and then write in her bare book (I found a bunch of them in the Target dollar section at one point this summer!).  She also has two rhyming word wheels that she can practice with and write the rhyming words in her book.  Gray loves that he’s “writing” with crayons while Sis is writing too.  He feels so big and important, and it shows!  We just have to watch that he doesn’t run around with a crayon sticking out of his mouth… he has that tendency.

geo shapes

We have some really fun building materials – you could use anything you have laying around – Legos, Duplos (for your little hands), building blocks, marble runs, whatever you  have.  Challenge your little ones to build a Christmas tree out of the supplies provided!!  Looking for more STEAM Engineering ideas?  Click Here!

reading retelling

We have a play Peanuts nativity set (affiliate link – thank you!) available on our low window sill for Becca to retell the Christmas story anytime she’d like.  Gray also enjoys playing with the characters, and he loves to sit and listen to her act out the story.  I also provided in her Christmas activity box Jan Brett’s Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends (affiliate links – thank you!) books – along with a tiny stuffed ginger baby that she can read the books to, and then use to re-inact the stories.

christmas treeNot an activity for Brother, Becca LOVES making Christmas trees of various designs using green popsicle sticks, red buttons, white pom poms, and one gold one for the star on top.  She has come up with some of the coolest, and also weirdest designs.  Some look like trees, and some, well… don’t.  But she is having a blast, it’s a great sensory activity for her that really allows her imagination and creativity to go wild.

fine motor

Becca struggles with some simple things like getting dressed, and in order to strengthen her hands and fingers to work on those little things like putting on socks and shoes, I try to find lots of fine motor skill practice activities for her.  I had some green colored pasta leftover from one of our habitat boxes, and also have some little Christmas jewelry pieces that I put in some little containers and let her string onto pipe cleaners to make bracelets and necklaces.  She LOVES it, and it’s great practice.  I even made an extension to this that stays in her room for holiday play – mini ball ornaments that she can string onto pipe cleaners.  It’s fabulous for her, and I’ve seen just in the past couple of weeks her fine motor skills making some great improvements!

star math

I programmed several index cards with a variety of patterns and addition/subtraction/multiplication story problems, and had her use these little star cards to solve them.  She even said “I wish all math was fun like this!”  So we’ve started using the star cards for other kinds of math too.  You could use anything you have around the house – scraps of paper, fabric, cut pipe cleaners, Legos, Duplos, crayons, etc.  Hands down, using manipulatives makes math more fun!  (And Mr. Gingerbaby even got involved in the math, too!)

more math

Becca has always struggled with seeing the importance behind having any numbers beyond 20.  She can count to 100 now with ease, but just really doesn’t see the point.  But she does love a good challenge, so I cut some 100s grids into lots of funny pieces, and she really enjoys putting them together.  I also took her sensory box from last Christmas and stepped it up a notch.  She loves playing with it with her balance.  She has discovered that the shiny and matte ornaments do not weigh the same as each other.  She has weighed the cookie cutters that are also in the box, and loves to scoop and pour the rice/split peas into and out of the balance.  She gets so excited when she makes them equal, and loves trying new combinations to see how much she needs to equalize if one side has more ornaments, etc.  I love seeing her creativity come out in this simple hands-on sensory activity, and I love to see her enjoying math.  She’s measuring with her measuring cup each time, and getting better at recognizing the values, etc.  Seeing her enjoy math is so good for me – I’m not a fan of math at all… so I try hard to make it really enjoyable for her so that she will love it.

What Christmas activities do you have going on in your house?  We are also doing daily advent activities, reading lots of Christmas books, and watching lots of special Christmas shows.  I’m hoping we can get out to look at Christmas lights sometime soon as well.  It can be such a crazy time of the year, but when we remember to stop and focus on the Reason for the season, it is all worth while.

May God richly bless you and yours this Christmas!  I look forward to hearing from you on Facebook, and I look forward to starting the new year with some new resolutions and some new post ideas!!  Do you have something you’d like to see me post here on my blog?  Send me an email!  I’d love to hear from you!

 

Nature Photography Art

steam activities header

Today’s Theme: Science, Tech, Art, Math
(yup, 4 for the price of 1… and technically, you could say it’s Engineering too if you use your items collected to build something…!)

With my life as crazy busy as it has been lately, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you that we’ve been doing a lot of super free, unplanned play.  Like watching a lot of Sesame Street.  And Creative Galaxy.  And Super Why.  And building train sets.  And marble runs.  And working puzzles.  And coloring in coloring books and on plain paper.  Ya know, the ordinary, unexciting activities that make up MOST of our normal lives.  Not a whole lot worth blogging about and saying “wow, isn’t this fantastic?  Don’t you want to do this with YOUR kids?”  HA!  But, I know that one of the things my readers comment on the most is how they feel inspired by what I share.  And honestly, that is humbling.  And it helps hold me to a higher standard for my own kids.  And I appreciate that.  Maybe it’s something about turning 31 today (really?  31?  I remember when 30 seemed ancient… and now 50 doesn’t sound that old…), or maybe it’s just because my life has been so crazy that I’ve had to think about hitting the “reset” button on our school time… but for whatever reason, I came up with a super fun, EASY activity to do with Becca this past week that she absolutely loved.  And hopefully your kids will too!  (And hopefully I can come up with some more fun ideas very soon!  Might be time to pull out my Raising Creative Kids book again and snag some more ideas from Colleen!!  Have you gotten her book yet?  OMG.  You need it.  You really do.  The link is on the right hand side of this page… or at the bottom if you’re on a mobile device.  And yes, it’s an affiliate link, so I make some dough from your purchase – THANK YOU!)

Wow.  That might well have been the longest run-on paragraph I’ve ever written here on my blog.  Thank ya’ll for sticking with me through that!  HA!

And now to the nitty gritty – Nature Photography Art!

Becca LOVES to get out in our yard and explore.  We are so blessed to have some amazing land for her to roam around on, and even more blessed that we’re on the edge of Texas Hill Country, so our wildflowers each Spring are just simply incredible.  With zero work on our part.  God just paints our land every single year for us, and we are so blessed!  Cody and I both love to take nature photos – it’s one of the things that we first found that we had in common when we met.  So our kids see us take pictures of flowers and trees and butterflies and random rock formations ALL. THE. TIME.  And Becca often asks me if she can take the picture.  But I hesitate to let her hold my phone outside – especially on a day like the one when we did this activity – because the ground was moist and there are random rocks… ya know, my luck I’d hand her my iPhone 6 Plus and she’d drop it face down into a mud puddle with rocks at the bottom (I know Apple Care is great, but…)!  So I came up with this idea to get her involved, let her take nature photos, and yet do it in a structured environment.

IMG_8425I took this photo in our front yard while we were working on collecting our flowers for this project.  The butterflies were fluttering EVERYWHERE, and the Indian Blankets are just gorgeous!

Here’s what you’ll need to do this activity:
A bucket or basket of some sort
A source of wildflowers, leaves, grass, or rocks
A sheet of white butcher paper
A good lamp
A magnifying glass
A digital camera of some sort that you are willing to let your child use
Optional extension:  A computer with internet for photo editing (I use PicMonkey.com)

So just take your bucket to your source of nature, and collect objects.  It can be ANYTHING.  Any small piece of nature can be a fabulous source for photography.  Keep in mind that live objects such as caterpillars are harder to photograph – especially for kids – because they are a moving target.  So encourage your child to select STILL LIFE objects.  You can explain that still life is a type of art that depicts objects that are alive, but not moving.  Flowers don’t get up and walk away.  Nor do rocks or grass.  So they work great for this project.  Try to pull an entire wildflower plant up – root and all – to examine with your child.  If that’s not possible, no worries, but it certainly extended our conversation GREATLY to have a couple full plants.  We talked about the parts of the plant while out there in the yard, and also again once we got into the house – a fabulous science lesson.  You can totally do this with rocks as well, and get into discussing and sorting the features of the rocks, and create a rock collection box.

Once your basket or bucket is full, head inside and lay out your white butcher paper.  Set up your lamp and grab your magnifying glass and camera – the fun is about to begin!  Start laying out your objects on the paper.  You can talk about their shadows, their colors, examine them close up, and watch the paper closely with your magnifying glass as lots of teeny tiny little bugs will crawl off of the flowers and begin to explore your paper.  This is a fabulous time to talk about the features of the camera with your child – especially how to make it focus.  If your little one has shaky hands and you’re using a phone for your photos, work as a team – you hold the phone, let your little one select where on the screen to focus, and push the shutter button to snap the picture (that’s what we did).

Try laying your objects out in all different ways – you can get as creative as your child wants.  You could spell nature words with your objects, you could spell your child’s name, you could build something with your rocks, or you could just do random grouping nature shots.  Encourage your child to try holding the camera closer to an object and farther away to see the difference in the two shots.  How does the shadow look on the screen?  Can you move your camera to a different location to make the shadow longer or shorter?  Etc.  The possibilities with this activity are ENDLESS.  And totally repeatable!!  Just collect different objects each time, and you can do this activity over and over and over.

If you want to extend the activity further in the tech area and your child is really into it, you can easily upload your photos to your computer and check out www.picmonkey.com (totally not an affiliate link, I just love them so much and use their site for everything!).  Try making a collage of your photos together, or even play around with their favorite photo to make a sign for their bedroom door, an inspirational saying for their bathroom mirror, or add text to several of the photos to create a book that you can print out and stick in a 3 ring binder for them.  You could also do this activity throughout the seasons and use these photos instead of paintings for your 2016 calendar!  You could also add some math to this activity by measuring each flower and sorting them by length!  The possibilities of where you can go with this activity are truly limitless, and think of the OWNERSHIP your child will have in this project – and the fabulous opportunity to do something one on one with your child.  (I know I’m frequently looking for something special I can do with JUST Becca so that she feels special and grown up.  We did this while Grayson was napping.  If your younger child doesn’t nap anymore, you can easily have them go on the hunt with you and collect their own items in a separate basket, then give them white paper as well and let them play with the objects.  They could draw ovals around them with crayons, count their objects, and sort by color, just to give you a few ideas.)

Here are some of the beautiful pieces we came up with together:

apr 30 nature photography art

Jesus Loves Me

rejoice

Becca Door SignI am truly so excited about this activity, and I can’t wait to do it with her again with other objects and different flowers!!  I especially loved her root picture (she wasn’t that fond of it, but she loved examining the roots and playing with the shadows!)  IMG_8446

 

I hope that you will try this activity with your kids, and that you’ll SHARE your results on my Facebook page!!!  I would love to see what you are doing!!!  Check back next week – I’m hoping to get more posts up before then for the start of our next new month!!