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Color and texture from experiences in Nature for young children

Wild passion flowers in Missouri
Kathryn Hardage

When taking a walk in the park, let your children touch the bark of the trees and trace the shapes of leaves. Looking up close and experiencing the natural world through all the senses activates a different kind of experience than the two-dimensional and virtual worlds of television and the computer.

Help your children notice the different kinds of greens, intense and delicate. Help them feel the different textures, smooth and rough. Notice the different leaf edges, rounded and pointed or jagged as they feel along them.

A botanical garden offers different kinds of natural delights. Both formal and more natural gardens showcase floral color and forms.

Let your children smell the floral scents as well as earthy compost. Take colored pencils and a drawing pad with you to express colors and shapes. You are playing with the feeling of abundant color and variety of shape, not trying for accurate representation.

Photos of your child playing in front of the gardens or smelling the flowers can be part of the record of your experiences.

When walking through the neighborhoods, point out yards with interesting gardens. Even though lawns prevail, there may still be interesting elements scattered throughout your walks.

A drive into the countryside yields even more views of Nature. At different seasons, different native plants prevail. After experiencing leaf shapes with you in the park, your children will be alerted to more shapes in vines and native plant growth.

Continuing your play with colored pencils and drawing pad, you may enjoy breaking up your drive with occasional stops to photograph and draw the feelings and impressions of all those jumbled greens and striking colors.

Touching all our children’s senses though experiences in Nature enriches and satisfies the soul. It will give you and your children another calming dimension to enter and allow you to share a continuing seasonal development.

© 2014 Kathryn Hardage

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