Age: Preschool through elementary
Time: 30 minutes or more
Type of activity: Nature arts-and-crafts
No matter where you live, you'll get your child thinking about nature's gifts with this indoor-outdoor activity. For year-long fun, try it each time the seasons change.
· Natural objects from outdoors
· Paper bag
· Elmer's glue
· Markers or crayons
What to Do:
Step One: On a nice winter day, take your child for a walk outdoors. Observe the landscape and talk about how you can tell it's winter. Then, fill your paper bag with some of the interesting plants, berries, nuts, and weeds that you find on your walk.
Step Two: At home, spread out what you've found on a table. See if you can identify which plants these materials came from (for example, milkweed, goldenrod, holly, sunflowers, etc.).
Step Three: Ask her to arrange the seeds, nuts, weeds, and stalks into a picture that feels like "winter."
Step Four: Carefully, glue all of the materials to your paper. You can add other shapes, people, animals, or background designs with markers and crayons.
Step Five: When spring arrives, repeat the steps and make another mural. Then, compare the different types of plants you collected during each season. See if your child can point out how they differ (for example winter's plants may not have much color and may be drier; in spring there may be more plants to collect.)
Take it Further: Read Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak. This tantalizing rhyming book takes children through the seasons of the year.