Category Archives: nature play

activities nature play

spring flowers and clay nature sculptures

Give a child some spring flowers-

spring flowers spring flowers 2

and clay,

you might get-

emma sculptures 2 emma sculptures 3

emma scullptures 4

emma sculptures 6

Our little friend Emma made these beautiful sculptures! Oh, how I love the bird!

“That’s all,”
Lisa

activities craft dandelions flowers nature nature play tutorial

dandelion chick craft

What says spring more than a yard full of dandelions? And little yellow chicks?

:: For this activity all you need is:
:: craft glue
:: orange felt
:: dandelions (10-20 depending on the size of the flower head)
:: a pinecone from a red pine (they sit really well due to the flat bottoms)
:: clay or anything else like buttons, leaves or black felt for the eyes

 :: Sit the pinecone up and start gluing each flower into the pinecone (that isn’t a dandelion in the picture above, Fauna got this project done so quickly I didn’t get a chance to take a picture, this project would work with other yellow flowers too).
:: Add eyes and beak after gluing the flowers.

:: Remember that dandelions close up at night so the chick will not remain yellow for longer than a day.

“That’s all,”
Lisa

homemade gifts nature play oak

wee acorn cap baskets

 Hi all! We have been enjoying some lovely Ohio Spring days lately!  The little ladies have been busy making little acorn cap baskets from dirt, moss, pliable sticks and cat mint. No glue was used, just nature.

 

They sculpted little tiny white eggs from clay to put in the baskets-

 Araina brought her wee folk outside and set up a little picnic, including a hosta leaf umbrella to protect Mama Oak from the sun.

 I think these little baskets are the cutest and want to put them on my bookshelves and in our terrariums!

Happy Spring!
“That’s all,”
  Lisa

activities homemade gifts lavender nature play tutorial valentine

scented herbal play dough

I really love this time of year. There is no holiday let down for me, we keep the twinkle lights up so we can enjoy their sparkle during these dark and gray Ohio days and decorate the mantle with hearts where the stockings used to be. I love the fires in the fireplace, snow on the ground, pink cheeks, hot chocolate, and the pink and red colors of Valentine’s day coming up. I really love Valentine’s Day and making it special for my little ladies.

We felt the need to bring a little spring into the holiday this year with scented herbal dough. I made a batch of pink rose petal scented dough and Fauna made a batch of purple lavender scented dough.

You need:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon canola oil (or any other oil you have on hand)
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
3-4 drops essential oil (we used rose and lavender)
food coloring (we used purple and red)
2 tablespoons dry  herbal leaves or flowers (we used lavender buds and rose petals)

To make:

1. Add a couple drops of the food coloring into the 1 cup of water.
2. Put flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, and tinted water into a medium sauce pan.
3. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it bubbles, stirring constantly until it thickens.
4. Remove from heat then stir in a few drops of essential oil and the dried herbs or flowers.
5. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
6. You can store any leftover dough in an airtight container or leave the creations out to airdry.
     *They take about a week to dry and they will fade in color a little bit. The lavender dough has kept its scent the best.

 Fauna  made some snails, Araina made a cat with a bed and ball of string, and we all made hearts.

We strung the hearts to hang in our windows and on bookcase knobs (don’t forget to add holes if you want to string them).


“That’s all,”
 Lisa

activities games nature nature play tree

making wishes on a red pine

We have a beautiful, 40yo, Red Pine (Pinus resinosa) in our yard. I love this tree because it provides us with wonderful pinecones and it’s fun to observe how the pinecones are formed.

The future pinecones look like little candles in the shape of pine trees.

In the picture below, you can see both pinecones and needles being formed.

Make Wishes on the Needles

The needles are long and come in bunches of 2. You can make wishes on the needle bunches the same way you’d make a wish on a wish bone (being vegetarians, my little ladies have never made wishes on wish bones, they prefer to wish on pine needles).

The winner of course gets to make a wish!

So go find a red pine tree and make some good wishes!

I should give credit where it’s due- a Japanese woman shared this tradition of making wishes on red pine needles with my sister, Katrina, who works at an arboretum. We have been huge fans of the tradition ever since!

FYI- these pictures were taken during the summer, right now we actually have a lot of beautiful snow on the ground!

“That’s all,”
 Lisa

nature play tree

edible trees- outdoor challenge day 4

Today was a cold, wet, dreary Dickens kind of day. But we did not let the weather keep us inside-

It’s a perfect day to find slugs on magnolia petals

and worms needing rescuing from the driveway puddles!

 A day for playing in puddles

and a day for a little bit of drama because one of us was “freezing to death!” It was in the 40′s today after a string of days in the 80′s, so it did feel very cold today. Crazy spring weather!

A great day to stop and taste a magnolia blossom as well! I have to warn you though, they taste like cheap perfume (not that I know what the taste of cheap perfume tastes like)!

Yep, some of those tree blossoms are indeed edible. I would only just have a little taste of some of them, but some taste quite good.

Here’s a list of trees that are “category 4″  or plants generally considered non-toxic to humans (according to the University of Arkansas)-
-Redbud blossoms
- Our favorite, highly recommend trying!  They taste just like sweet peas if you nibble them while they are very young. Ours aren’t quite to that stage yet though.
-Mimosa
-Pecan
-Russian-Olive
-Tulip-Poplar
-Pine- Fauna was just complaining last week that she had a pine needle stuck in her throat after eating some, she nibbles needles all of the time. Pine is also a great source of Vitamin C and makes a good tea too!
-Plum
-Weeping Willow
-Forsythia
-Gardenia
-Hibiscus
-Nandina
-Lilac
-Yucca

To learn more about the toxicity of trees, visit the longer list here. Please use caution when eating wild edibles and make sure the id is CORRECT before tasting! There’s the warning, don’t come back to me if you should get sick. ;) I get a little nervous sharing wild edibles on the site because of this, but wild edibles are such a pleasure to my girls and make “knowing nature” fun!

I thought I would share an Outdoor Challenge Participant of the Day from now until the end of April. Today’s picture is from Sherry of Living and Learning; it’s a shame not to show her boy’s cute little face, but this pic is PRICELESS! Love a kid in the mud and a mama not afraid of a dirty kid!

I will try and share more participant pics daily. If you come back here and leave a link on the days you participate, I will know I have permission to share. 

 Visit the other Great Outdoor Challenge players- 105 players so far! It’s never too late to join!

lisasanders, angelina, phyllis, sarah, christie, jennifer, debbie, dong dong, denise, luisa, joy, stephanie, cori, alex, dawn, kristen, catherine, tricia, becky, christy, ruth, kari, courtney, branflakes, jessica, renee, haiku, brynn, amy, clemencia, sherry, leslie, lise, renee, anet, jenn, marina, amy, ella, marcia, karen, beth, julie, kyndale, kelly, lizzie, eileen, ag, mari-ann, cindy, robin, nicole, debbie, julia, renee, anita, lisa, jenn, montessori, marita, jeannie, hallie, mandy, kangaroo, andrea, joey, carmen, teena, stephinie, gidget, elizabeth, emma, rosina, saminda, melissa, katie, becca, atouria, barbara, ariella, missy, elizabeth, sarah, eileen, lisa, stacy, jennifer, tulsileaf, lisa C, morticia, angela, rana, jamie, lisa c, luz, charley, heather, valerie, kirsten, rachel, annie, kendra, beth s, lindsey

“That’s all.”