Collect Make Explore Connecting Our Children to the Natural World Through Nature Art Outdoor Explorations and a Natural Lifestyle Jessica Wascak
Collect. Make. Explore. Connecting Our Children to the Natural World Through Nature Art, Outdoor Explorations, and a Natur...
CONTENTS Acknowledgments 1 Introduction 3 2 Greet the Day 4 5 3 Set the Day In Motion 6 4 Collectors 7 19 5 Makers 20 38 6 Explorers 39 50 7 Building a Bridge 51 61 8 It s the Little Things 62 76 9 Turn Towards the Sun 77 78 About the Author 79 10 i 2
CONTENTS Acknowledgments 1  Introduction  3  2  Greet the Day  4-5  3  Set the Day In Motion  6  4  Collectors  7-19  5  M...
Collect Make Explore INTRODUCTION Let me take you on a journey into the natural world Don t be fooled we are not hiking through mountains trekking across deserts or sailing the high seas In fact most of our adventures actually play out in and around my Midwestern suburban home Even though my young children and I rarely stray far you will be amazed by all of the magic and beauty we have discovered sometimes right in our own backyard This visual field guide is a sweet collection of nature art and explorations documented through the eyes of a Parent who also happens to have the heart of an Artist I use the basic concepts of collecting making and exploring to connect myself and my children to the great outdoors This book will give you the confidence and inspiration to begin your own journey or give you a renewed sense of optimism and a shift in perception if you are already well on your way Read on to view simple yet beautiful ways to create a more natural lifestyle for you and your family Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known Carl Sagan And chances are you ve probably already been there but just forgot to open your eyes So let s get started and explore what we thought we already knew again for the first time 3
Collect. Make. Explore.  INTRODUCTION Let me take you on a journey into the natural world. Don   t be fooled   we are not ...
Jessica Wascak SET THE DAY IN MOTION Collect Make Explore These concepts are at the heart of this book Collecting can be defined as the act of gathering things from different places and bringing them together Making involves transforming material s into something new While Exploring implies experiencing something in a detailed way in order to learn more about it The seemingly separate objects and experiences that our children collect from the natural world are in fact all pieces to the same puzzle Once brought together they can be read as a greater whole and form a bigger picture of the world around them If we encourage creative studies and allow the materials they collect to become products of their imagination then the learning continues as they insert themselves into the puzzle Their creations will highlight a new way of seeing that is unique to their particular vision and this will in turn give them confidence to build their own perspective And last but not least if we seek out outdoor adventures then we will tap into our children s natural curiosity and sense of wonder for the great unknown This sets them on the course of being open to new experiences instead of retreating in fear Their independent discoveries will encourage them to always question and seek out answers And most importantly instead of racing towards a destination it will help them understand the magic that can be found within the journey Collectors Makers Explorers Action words that will act as your guide Don t just think about what you could do do it and set the day in motion 4
Jessica Wascak  SET THE DAY IN MOTION Collect. Make. Explore. These concepts are at the heart of this book. Collecting can...
Collect Make Explore COLLECTORS 5
Collect. Make. Explore.  COLLECTORS  5
Jessica Wascak And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul Unknown Children are natural collectors They can find endless treasures on a trip to the park a walk around the block or in their own back yards When my brother was young much to the dismay of my dad he would gather every stick large or small from the neighborhood and bring them back home amassing a huge pile outside our back door Gathering these sticks spelled endless possibilities to him as they were raw materials for forts bridges hiking sticks and more Now I smile as my own son always has a rock in his pocket and my daughter toddles along stopping every two seconds to bend down and pick up a leaf from the ground They roll these objects around in their little hands and smile from ear to ear at what they have discovered As an Artist who is endlessly fascinated by natural details myself I am constantly leading my children on guided and independent activities involving the environment I find that collecting things as it comes so naturally to them anyways is a great place to start The experience of gathering materials and the resulting process of examination and transformation are the focus of the images on the pages ahead 6
Jessica Wascak          And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.    - Unknown  Children are natural col...
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Jessica Wascak The focus the determination the sheer fascination that children get from interacting with their environment is amazing There is something so pure about this tactile experience They are curious so let them explore Yes we watch and keep them out of harms way especially at a young age But giving them the freedom to get their hands dirty and make their own discoveries helps them understand their relationship with this earth and their role in taking care of it 8
Jessica Wascak     The focus, the determination, the sheer fascination that children get from interacting with their envir...
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Jessica Wascak Many times the random objects that are picked up off the ground are examined for a moment and then tossed aside Occasionally we will gather objects and lay them out for a closer look Sometimes the objects sit on the porch steps for a few weeks or get put into a basket for the season or in my grandfather s old tool box for keeping them safe We talk about the various colors shapes and textures that we collect and how one object compares to the next They are often used for lining up stacking or burying in the sand and dirt We can never get enough of these treasures As the mother of a little boy the use of a hammer is endless fun so we got creative one day and decided to see what was inside these rocks Using a cloth to protect us from flying pieces we smashed the rocks apart to examine them from the inside out Oh what fun We looked for fossils sparkles and hidden lines and colors We watched and smiled as each quick swing of the hammer changed our solid chunks of stone into beautiful glistening bits of rock dust On this brisk Fall day we couldn t stay out long but luckily this particular venture only took a few minutes to spark our imaginations 10
Jessica Wascak     Many times the random objects that are picked up off the ground are examined for a moment and then toss...
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Jessica Wascak    12