EXPLORING NATURE WITH CHILDREN
I’m so thankful I get to spend time with my children for their Preschool/Kindergarten years. These early years are so precious. First, I share examples of our nature studies with Exploring Nature Curriculum with Children. Keep reading to find out how we explore nature during the Winter! Finally, at the bottom, we list our favorite supplies for the Preschool/Kindergarten years.
SUPPORTS AMPLE NATURE TIME
- Exploring Nature Curriculum with Children – This works well for my family because it is centered around being outdoors (HINT: If you click on this link, make sure you click “Preview” to check out the preschool curriculum!)
In December, we studied winter birds with Exploring Nature Curriculum with Children. Almost daily, we pull out our Nature Anatomy book and use it as a lovely learning resource. We also LOVE these sandpaper letters for early letter formation and writing skills! They are so affordable to beautiful in their simplicity.
I have been wanting to collect some field guides, and we finally picked up a few at Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. I choose the following guides since I felt they would get us started off on the right foot: Texas Wildflowers, Birds of Central Texas, and Owls of North America.
Finally, we read through Owl Moon. Have you read this story? If you haven’t, I highly suggest it! The last page in the book is so sweet:
“When you go owling
you don’t need words
or anything but hope.
That’s what Pa says.
The kind of hope
on silent wings
under a shining
We also created bird’s nests from play dough and used some old string and feathers and twigs from the yard.
Also pictured are two other highly recommended books that we read regularly: Albert and A Nest is Noisy.
Albert is a sweet story about birds who build a nest in Albert’s hands and help him overcome his fears. It is beautifully illustrated by Jim LaMarche.
Now that my oldest is five, he is beginning to want to practice handwriting. I’m super gentle with their learning since I feel that is best for the littlest of children. I’m grateful for these letter worksheets from simplylearningkids.
Finally, we read through Are You My Mother? My little ones created another nest made from play dough and I loved when they added in eggs. Its such a joy to see their creativity come alive from play, good books, and nature! Here is the link to these lovely letters again! sandpaper letters
Since we don’t have much snow in Texas, the boys don’t often experience what I would consider a true Winter. My husband and I talk often about taking them to a colder place in the Winter sometime so they can experience snowflakes and nature in wintertime.
To explore the Winter sky, we used coffee filters to make snowflake shapes, and also read the Snowy Day and Nature Anatomy again to look at different snowflake shapes.
Then, we read this sweet book called Snowmen at Night. I think its perfect for preschoolers since it seems like the boys enjoy to have this book read aloud often!
Once again, we utilized the Nature Anatomy books and these sandpaper letters . Seriously, we use them almost daily!!!
First, I drew in pencil the phases of the moon and then I invited my oldest to watercolor the picture however he wanted. I love his close attention to detail.
We also added in gluten free oreos into the study of the phases of the moon! The boys LOVED this part of course!
We don’t often buy cookies so this was a treat! I may or may not have a cookie or two with them!
My sweet friend sent me these beautiful moon resources.
WINTER TREE STUDY
The Exploring Nature with Children curriculum is so lovely written. She states:
“Winter can be a very interesting time to observe trees. Their beautiful silhouettes stretch across the winter sky line, revealing their shapes more clearly in the absence of leaves.”
My littlest one (age three) painted a tree from the Perfect Christmas Tree. Oh my goodness…this is SUCH a sweet story to read at Christmas time! You know a good book when it stirs your emotions and brings you to tears! This book was recommended from the Peaceful Preschool curriculum, which we use to gently introduce letters to the boys.
We have very loosely kept a nature journal. I tried my hand at drawing an evergreen with John Muir Law’s drawing tutorials, and my son wanted to draw a tree right next to mine! So sweet. I love his creations.
Then, we collected twigs and branches from outside in the yard and read this LOVELY book of nature winter poems.
We also read Winter Trees and painted using our tree branches.
Again, we used our Nature Anatomy book again to identify different kinds of bark. We also wound twine around some branches. The boys had fun figuring out how to wind the string around the tree!
Little Tree is another sweet story that shows the seasons nicely. Its a sweet story of a little tree who is afraid of change. Also, I love the illustrations by Loren Long.
This beeswax candle making kit is so affordable, simple, and my boys LOVE to make candles. The boys also played with the letters beads and used their fine motor skills to string them on pipe cleaner.
Next, we read about earthworms and they colored in a picture of an earthworm that I drew. We briefly discussed the anatomy of an earthworm. I don’t focus on much detail at this point…I just let them observe as much as they can on their own.
Then, my boys had fun using play dough to form earth worms. We enjoy this natural play dough for playing, and forming letters.
I was completely shocked to see my oldest want to copy this poem that comes in the curriculum. Once he was finished, I didn’t pressure him to keep going. This is considered copywork and its AMAZING handwriting/language arts practice!
Exploring Nature with Children also has a Guided Journal and its so lovely! We have used it many times, though I can easily seeing using it weekly as the boys grow! The copywork pictured below came from the Guided Journal!
WINTER FIELD TRIP
We also took a hike to Pedernales Falls State Park. My hubby loved it so much that he purchased a state pass for the whole family.
Our boys and dogs loved it!
We have been a handful of times, so we can’t wait to return.
Finally, I hope this helps inspire you with some Winter Preschool/Kindergarten activities! I sure love this precious time spent at home with my kiddos. Finally, here is our curated Preschool supplies list!
If you are interested in Exploring Nature with Children, I encourage to check it out! Its super affordable and I intend to keep up this curriculum every year for many years to come! Make sure you click “Preview” so you view a sample of the rich curriculum!
Nature Anatomy Series
A Nest is Noisy
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