April’s Nature Study was a favourite of mine. We love to spend time in our gardens and whether your space is a farm or a window box you can enjoy the wonders a packet of wildflower seeds brings.
Here’s some of the things we covered this month.
We participated in a gorgeous materials swap that brought us things that look deeper into the life cycle of a honey bee and the role of bees in fruit production.
We set up a mason bee house to encourage solitary bees to come to our outdoor spaces. Solitary bees don’t sting or swarm but they do pollinate. Perfect for any space. We also enjoyed learning about different bee species from around the world with the beautiful cards from Twig and Moth.
We dried flower petals and used our new Botanicum Postcards to explore other plant species.
And of course we went outside. Spring is ending where we live but there are still some flowers around if you know where to look.
This is one of the easiest Nature Studies to do. A packet of wildflower seeds is inexpensive and can be found at your local garden centre, some hardware stores and even big box stores. They require little care and will usually grow without any human care if you scatter them in the right place. Try sprinkling them into a window box and leave a small spray bottle near by for eager little hands.
March 20th, the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere is a big deal at our house.
Spring. New leaves, new life and warmer weather. There are also so many beautiful cultural traditions and celebrations around this time of year.
Like all holidays, we as adults tend to want to give the children in our lives “all the things”. But as we mentioned here, it is the experience a child seeks, not the stuff.
And so, we as Montessorians (and as aspiring minimalists) try to advocate for spring holiday gifts that facilitate a child’s imagination, curiosity and sense of wonder.
We love making these adorable Pom Pom rabbits found here. The Montessori side of me loves the fine motor hand movements required. Scissor practice is also great Practical Life activity for toddlers and up. Crafting with a child is a beautiful way to spend a day.
A beautifully curated “basket” of new kitchen gadgets and baking supplies found here, invites a budding chef into the kitchen for shared baking time with a loved one.
This sweet little set from Montessori Services with a few packets of seeds tucked in is perfect for toddlers. Spending time in the backyard together and watching your garden grow is such a lovely way to connect with a child.
A DIY Nature explorer kit (or a purchased kit from here) is one of our absolute favourite gifts to give. The gift of nature is a powerful one to give a child. One whose benefits will last a lifetime. We love these postcards by Playful Learning to tuck into our exploring kits.
And then, there’s simply the act of giving nothing at all. Of instead being mindful of what has been given to us, and sharing that love of all things new and bright and green with a child.
Because that’s what they really want. Not our stuff, but our time.
We love being submersed in nature. There are so many beautiful experiences to offer to a child, by simply being out in nature.
Collecting treasures from our trips as well as memories came naturally and with that came the need for a place to store everything.
Nature journalling can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like. We chose the simpler side and I enlisted some help.
This book came highly recommended and I’m so glad we got it. It is gorgeous, takes us through every stage and sets the bar high for our future journalling to strive to.
The pages are beautiful enough for both Quentin and I to just flip through and discuss. From flowers to animals to landscapes we have poured over its pages.
My hope is that Quentin may decide to use this independently as he gets older and it will certainly hold out for him if he does.
Anyone who knows me can tell you, Maths are a very big love in our house. So, when there is a beautifully illustrated Montessori friendly book that features not only nature, but the Fibonacci sequence; well I just couldn’t resist.
Swirl by Swirl, Joyce Sidman
Incredibly detailed pictures set with simple text, this book will capture a child’s interest at any age.
The delicate way Math reveals itself in nature is a beautiful one. There is an excellent information section at the back of this book, explaining Fibonacci and many other interesting bits about nature. Quentin at almost 4 enjoys carefully scanning the pages, looking for all of the details. He happily identifies swirls and this book is a great way to add the extension of some nature exploration. On our nature walks he looks for patterns. Perhaps he doesn’t yet find Fibbonaci in a pinecone or a sunflower. But I do. And I can marvel beauty of it with him.
This book touches on the subtleties of it all from ferns unfolding to a chipmunk curled in its den. There is more there than we realize, we just have to stop and look.
Sunshine, birds chirping and lots of time outside. We’ve been off on Spring Break and trying to spend as much time as possible together and relaxing.
Egg dying was also on the agenda this weekend. Naturally dyed eggs are easy and fun for all ages.
You don’t need much except patience.
- White hardboiled eggs
- Sheer stockings/pantyhose
- Plant material
- Natural dying material
- White vinegar
- Tall mason jar
We used yellow onion skins, purple cabbage and blueberries. But the list goes on and on. Try experimenting with spices, beets, tea and anything else you’d like.
- Use one mason jar for each colour
- Put your dying material into mason jar
- Put in 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- Place a small piece of plant or flower onto egg (optional)
- Wrap egg tightly in stocking and tie it tight (optional, keeps plant material in place)
- Place egg into mason jar
- Pour boiling water into mason jar until egg is covered
Leave for 3-6 hours, or overnight.
Drain the jar when done, unwrap eggs and compost the dye material. Simple and beautiful.
Have a safe and weekend.
We’ve been off on Spring Break here. It’s been quiet days filled with lots of outdoor time.
One of our absolute favourite things to do is bird watching. I’ll go into more detail coming up later this week but I had wanted to share our favourite companion book for bird watching at this time of year.
A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston
This book is part of a beautiful series and if you haven’t read it I would highly recommend you do. Lots of beautiful illustrations and interesting facts. We love it because it reminds us that it is not only birds that make nests. Many reptiles and mammals do as well.
The coming of Spring offers such an amazing look into the animal world. We use this book to talk about different nests, how nests are made and also how we can help nest building animals ensured they have a safe place to build a home for their young.
We are going to take a break from our Sunday Book Club this week to instead tell you about this.
I love spending time out in nature with both boys. We are lucky to live where there is such a vast and diverse wilderness. I also love reading about the different Montessori friendly activities out there for children and their families so when this came along for us I was interested right away.
We have been reviewing Wild Explorers Club for the past 6 weeks. Their website is well put together and explains the entire two year programme really nicely. It is a monthly subscription service and at a cost of $12US a month I thought we got what we paid for.
Each week there is a new activity for the child and their family to try. The programme starts when you sign up so you don’t have to jump in part way through anything. The first assignment was make an adventure pack. Others included hike a new trail, find a walking stick and make a nature journal. It includes a monthly paper magazine shipped to your door and all the weekly assignments and final certificate for a level are accessible on your account page and are easily downloadable.
Quentin was so happy when his badge arrived in the mail. I’m not sure we will do the full two years but it has been fun for us so far and it helps motivate me to get us out and seeing the world.
* All right, I’ll put up a disclaimer: We are not affiliated with Wild Explorers Club and I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are purely my own.