Drawing nature is a fantastic way to encourage children to look around them and see the wonderful shapes and patterns which surround us.
On a recent walking adventure into a nature reserve, we took along some extra supplies - a couple of pads of paper and some pens. I'd thrown these in on the off chance the boys would be interested in drawing during the trip.
This proved to be a worthwhile activity which was well received - hooray!!!
Our 'hiking' adventure turned out to be more of a casual stroll with a million stops along the way to ...
... observe every crawling insect found,
... float leaves in small flowing streams of water,
... find hidden treasures
... scale any potential climbing surface
... and to launch cannon balls at pirate ships (otherwise known as throwing stones into the ocean).
After a while, it was time for a snack and some water.
We found some steps with a view of the ocean and settled down for a rest.
This is when the pens and paper were brought out and snapped up with enthusiasm.
Actually, I think it worked so well because I sat down as well and started drawing things I could see. It didn't really matter that my 'drawings' were basically scribbles. What did matter is that the boys wanted to join in.
Before long, they were creatively drawing things they could see around them such as the amazing root systems of some nearby trees, or the repetitive lines created by stone steps. We even had secret maps appearing.
Symbolic symbols also appeared in the boys' drawings, such as a yellow circle with radiating lines for the sun. However, it was great to see some of the shapes they could see, in trees and stones around them, being added into the drawings a little.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the resulting drawings, they weren't as important as the process of observing and attempting to draw what could be seen.
Another feature that I really loved about this activity was the time we spent together. It was a relaxed time in which we could enjoy each others' company. There was no time pressure. It was a real social activity that I treasured.
Drawing nature is a great way to encourage children to use their sense of sight to experience their environment. Of course, at the same time, it's easy to talk about what can be heard and smelt as well.
So the next time you're going on an adventure into the wild, remember to pack some paper and pens ... along with the sunscreen, water, food, spare clothing, bug repellent, first aid kit ... and someone strong to carry it all! :o
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