November 18, 2010


It is a game to me, and one I like to pass on to the children, to become more knowledgeable about the plant and tree life around us, especially the ones we come in contact on a daily or weekly basis.  

As time goes on, it is no longer called a tree but becomes a Shagbark Hickory, a Grey Birch or a Red Oak . . .  not a shrub but a Winterberry, Serviceberry, or Forsytheia. You get the picture. 

The game:
~ Choose something in our natural world that we have exposure to.
~ How many of its kind can we discover as we explore?
 ~How can we describe it? Let's observe up close and use magnifying glasses and all our senses.
~ How can we draw it? Let's just draw what we see.  
~ How can we make something with it or incorporate it into our play?

This is not a game with rigid rules with a *you have to do this* kind of thing. This is just how it has come to be and it flows.

You might think this is not a game, not a fun game. Ahh but it is. The children have exposure to nature in the real world and they want to know more. It has meaning to them because all of it is part of their world. They can see, touch, hear and smell all the wonder around them.

We played a cattail game recently. We have seen them in each season, from the young new green growth which is spread in the damp soil by rhizomes, 
to the fluffy cotton the catttail turns into in order to disperse of its seeds.    
First we discover all the places we find them . . . 

                                        in the pond

in the marshy earth

                        Then we look and touch and observe from all angles, using all of our senses.

And we draw what we see. You might see something different than me.

and we color in and make it our own.

 We learned that the cattail leaves are used to make woven chair seats and backs and also as rugs and mats.  The children collected some leaves and realized just how long they are.
They braided them . . . 

and made headbands, 

necklaces . . . 

and bracelets.

When we have a personal connection to something in nature, we want to know more and more and more. It has meaning for us. It is only then that we delve deeper, to learn even more about our *nature finds* in our game.

Perhaps you would enjoy this game at your house  :)

                                      happy day!


Lise said...

We recently went in search of cattails so Lucy could really know them (she knew them from the red-winged blackbird illustration in a book) and had so much fun banging them on the road to let the seeds fly. The toddler version of the game.

Thanks for the Burgess recommendation. Will check it out!

Phyllis said...

There is no better game, in my book.

The Knitty Gritty Homestead said...

Thanks for stopping by my space! Early in the school year we took a walk around our lovely school yard and collected bits of nature...later, the children explored with their 4 senses (not taste!), and drew what they saw...their perspective was remarkable, their representations beautiful. A lovely post!

Sparklee said...

Great photos--looks like everyone had fun! I totally agree that a personal connection makes us want to learn more!