Thursday, May 30, 2013


The Nature Shelf

You may have noticed that I often have a shelf set up with my calendar that highlights our unit now. Usually I have a selection of our reading materials and some eye catching manipulatives  to help emphasize the story or facts.

This time I decided to go full gusto and make a long nature table filled with opportunities for fine motor development, small world play, art and exploration. It was a big success and I found I had to keep the door to the room closed when I did not want them to play with it ! I try to keep the activities special for our in school hours and that way they work well independently while I teach their older siblings.

When you are setting up your trays or tables keep in mind that you need to include items that are factually accurate (is that the right way to say it??) You want your child to make connections to what they are learning. Include a variety of ways that the materials can be used to cater to different styles of learning. It should be fairly open ended and encourage creativity. Colourful and textured. Inviting ! You want this to be a good experience that they will remember and look forward to !

One of the things I most enjoy about the activities I prepare for my children is the process of actually preparing them ! I love to reflect on what interests them and come up with units that will bring them joy. I enjoy thinking about what they might enjoy doing as they learn and I find that it creates a lot of positive thoughts towards my boys. I am more intentional about knowing who they are and what appeals to them. When I am out at thrift stores , dollar stores or garage sales I'm always on the look out for special items that I know one of my children\ would like to use. It's a wonderful thing to surround yourself with good thoughts about your kids !

Books to read and pictures to look at
the little black boards are perfect for
drawing your own bird or just practicing some spelling !

Containers with plenty of materials for
nest building !
The bird is battery operated and chirps out a lovely song
Some driftwood, moss and feathers are perfect for examining under a magnifying glass. 

A square of artificial grass and some natural elements in a divider are great for sorting and setting a scene.
A ready made nest and some eggs that open and close.
A variety of little birds and a cute tree with many branches for the birds to perch on (with  berries for them to eat!) 

The boys worked together to build a nest 

Didn't take long to come up with the idea of putting the birds into the eggs to make them hatch out ! 

Pretty !

I really had a good time making this tray ! Bird houses Feathers Natural clippings from the yard red "berries" Rubber band "worms" Small insects on clothes pegs Bird Seeds

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