In our Art and Nature Explorer classes our projects often are inspired by the things we find in our environment. We have the best classroom right outside our front doors. From seashells, sticks and stones to leaves! One of our days we made collages using giant leaves they collected on a walk. I love being able to take the Art and Nature Explorers on the road and visit different parks and enviromental areas. They learn about the envirioment how to take care of it and make that heart to heart connection to the world around them. Exploring nature through creativity is a unique program to encourage a childs curiosity, explore and reconnect to the magic of nature that is around them. I do believe in no child left inside, what they learn to love they will protect.
I could have a classroom but we do have the best classroom of all just right outside! One of the great benefits of being able to travel to different locations like the beach, the pineland trails or the old oak hammocks is the ability for the children to be exposed to a variety of different environmental area art materials and animals that live there. The art projects are about reconnecting to Mother Natures seasons and some of our projects are inspired by an animal we are lucky enough to find out on the trails.
In our Art and Nature Explorer programs we incorporate a hands-on art activity. The lesson is from first inspiration to finished project art always involves nature. Sometimes even the leftovers of former environmental art projects can provide inspiration,. One group of children took vine circles left behind from another project creating beautiful dream catchers and wove with them, and made wreathes. They also brought the circles outside and used them to spark imaginary play including throwing objects through a target! Fun use of imagination and natural materials for play! Children need art, not only for the development of their creativity, but as a support for growing cognitive, social, and motor abilities.
Our art materials are thoughtfully arranged using wooden bowls or naturally colored containers. Natural materials such as grasses, seeds, leaves and sticks are placed next to the glue rather than the sequins or glitter you might find in a more traditional classroom.
Being outside can bring its own way of dealing with obstacles: on one windy day the papers where flying! much to the glee of some of the children – others not so much, so we discovered the rocks could be used as a weight to help the papers stay in place. Using a simple lesson like this can help children discover their strengths and help them in other areas of life.
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