Nature crowns

There are so many ways to make nature crowns! All you really need is a strip of paper or cardboard fitted to your child’s head and some glue or tape (a hot glue gun is helpful but not required). Take a nature walk and collect natural items that appeal to your child and then glue or tape them onto the strip of paper/cardboard. Voila!

We love making nature crowns each season – they are always unique and special. This site has some great ideas and images to get you started. We hope you enjoy making your own nature crowns!

Nature crowns

There are so many ways to make nature crowns! All you really need is a strip of paper or cardboard fitted to your child’s head and some glue or tape (a hot glue gun is helpful but not required). Take a nature walk and collect natural items that appeal to your child and then glue or tape them onto the strip of paper/cardboard. Voila!

We love making nature crowns each season – they are always unique and special. This site has some great ideas and images to get you started. We hope you enjoy making your own nature crowns!

Name stick art

We always have such a great time making art with sticks. Today we’re encouraging you to try making your names with sticks! Most of the time when we make stick art, we return the sticks to nature when we are finished; however, today we added glue and paint to our name stick art to make forever art. These extra steps are totally optional and many children are happy to create temporary art. It’s all about the process, not the product, after all.

For stick name art, all you need are sticks of varying lengths and widths. Finding sticks that have natural curves is helpful too.

If your child wants to glue and paint their name stick art, you’ll also need:

  • Hot glue OR twine
  • Paint and paintbrush/Q-tips
  • Cardboard

Use hot glue or twine to attach the sticks into letter shapes. Then you can paint the letters and attach to a piece of twine to hang or glue to a canvas (we used cardboard).

We hope you have a blast creating name stick art!

Hot and cold

Play an old favorite game with natural items! The player that is the “hider” chooses a natural item. The “seekers” use their senses to really explore the item before the hider hides it. Discuss its details together: is it large, medium or small? Is it heavy or light? Smooth or rough? It’s important to practice keen observation skills as there may be other natural items that look very similar! Consider marking the item with a sharpie or a string if you think that would be helpful.

Once ready, the seekers close their eyes while the hider hides the object. Once the hider shouts “ready!”, the seekers move together as the hider tells them with each step if they’re getting “warmer” (closer to the hiding spot) or “colder (further from the hiding spot). When the seekers get warm, warmer, hot, hotter, BURNING HOT (!!) they know they are close to the jackpot and need to use their eagle eyes to find the natural item. We hope you have a blast playing “Hot and Cold” with natural items!

Nature cutting

Young children love using scissors and it’s so important to give them lots of opportunities to sharpen their scissor skill set on items other than paper. What could be easier than offering your children the chance to practice their cutting skills on yard scraps or items found on a nature walk?

You need:

  • Scissors
  • Nature items (leaves, weeds, twigs, etc)
  • Optional: bins for organizing

Using bins to organize your cut and uncut natural items is helpful but not necessary.

Sometimes children cut just to cut and other times children might be interested in creating artwork with their cut items. We often use a tree stump as our art canvas or a piece of cardboard or storage bin top. If it’s windy, adding tape can be helpful.

Adding a smiley face to your child’s thumbnail and offering the prompt to “keep your smiley face up!” can be helpful to young children as they learn to master scissor skills. Thumbs up for this fun, easy, and free activity!

Tree obstacle course

Head outside and find a climbing tree to create a tree obstacle course! Find different ways to climb through the tree – Japanese Maples and Bush Honeysuckle work well for young children – and consider adding a rope for more challenges. You can switch up speed, height, and distance for more or less challenge depending on your child’s age, comfort and skill level.

A few safety rules to consider is to only climb on branches as thick as your leg, ensure safe fall zones, and have a spotter for young children.

Have fun and remember to hug the tree when you’re finished!

Oaks News from the Wild #15

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If I had to choose one word that sums up what we do at Audubon, it would be

connections

We connect children to nature. We teach about the connections in nature. But also, we connect children to each other. We all live together on this planet. We share a place and a responsibility to each other. That’s what it means to be human, whether you are 5 or 50.

As I look at the pictures from our last two weeks, I see these connections so strongly. And as hard as it is to say farewell to children who will be moving on, I know we will always be connected to each other through this shared experience.

Team bird id

We’ve spent the past three weeks learning about birds. In addition to a person of the day, we introduced a Bird of the Day. We learned their calls, where they nest and what they eat. Knowing the most common birds adds strands to our human-nature web – suddenly the chirps, tweets and trills become not just pleasant background music, but old friends. “I heard tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle! It’s the Carolina Wren!” And the birds cooperated, with close-up encounters with pileated and downy woodpeckers, a wren nesting in the box on the Oaks play-yard, and of course the daily joy of watching our chicks grow up.

At Hilltop Home and on the Play-yard, the Oak’s cooperative play shows connections in action. Shared ideas, goals, stories, language, and skills. Constant negotiation, problem-solving and team-work.

Drawing and writing happen everywhere – they feel the power of putting their ideas down on paper, of making their mark.

We made a list of our favorite places at Woodend, so we would be sure to visit them all in the last two weeks of school. Right at the top of the list is the Creekbed. The Oaks LOVE the water, and the rains were welcomed ¬†with whoops of joy. “It’s FLOWING!!! The creek is flowing!!!”

Connections – to each other and to nature. And stories to tell.

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Birds we learned

Robin

Cardinal

Blue Jay

Carolina Wren

House Sparrow

Mourning Dove

Downy Woodpecker

White-breasted Nuthatch

Chickadee

Some books we read:

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray

The Seven Ravens by Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm

The Six Swans by Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons by Judy Sierra

Rumplelstiltskin by Paul Zelinsky

And many other informational books about birds and too many other books to count : )

Songs we sang

The Playground Gate

I saw a (name of bird) at the playground gate

That (robin) was my playmate.

That (robin) said, “Cheerup, cheerily, chirrup, cheerily, cheerily, chirrup!”

Robin Redbreast

Robin redbreast, crow flying round

Nuthatch hopping down the tree

Chickadee, dee, dee, dee, dee!!