Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall in Love with Nature

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. Cooler temperatures, autumn foliage, hot air balloons in the mornings (at least here in the Albuquerque) - these are what I start to look forward to as soon as the autumnal equinox rolls around (this year, September 23rd).  Now is the perfect time of year to build appreciation and understanding of nature for kids 2-8 with a craft or walking/observing adventure!  Here's some titles we recommend:

Lois Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup- work your way through the alphabet when you visit the farmer's market or grocery store vegetable counter each week.

Lois Ehlert's Leaf Man- collect leaves and press them, then create a picture with the leaves on wax paper and hang it in the window.

Jim Arnosky's Drawing From Nature explains how to observe and sketch nature, and his Crinkleroot series suggests ways to observe nature.

Also check out this subject search of nature crafts.

Here are some poetry books about nature for kids:

Jane Yolen's Shape Me a Rhyme: Nature's Forms in Poetry combines poetry and photographs to illustrate shapes in nature.

The book Stone Bench in an Empty Park, selected by Paul Janeczko with photographs by Henri Silberman, is an anthology of haiku accompanied by photographs reflecting nature  in the city.

Ralph Fletcher's Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in Early Spring recalls the sights and feelings experienced on a springtime walk--from home, through the woods, and back again. (Wrong season, but a pretty book.)

Betsy Lewin's Walk a Green Path has lush watercolor paintings to accompany poems whose green subjects range from the author's houseplants to lily pads in the Amazon.

Barbara Brenner's The Earth is Painted Green: A Garden of Poems about Our Planet is an illustrated collection of poems from around the world about various aspects of life on earth.

In our system, we also have the following authors who write books about nature which you might also enjoy:

Gail Gibbons - whether it's cats, kites, or farming, Gail Gibbons has written a book about it.

Bobbie Kalman - for books about colonial life, endangered animals, desert habitats, & everything in between.

Jerry Pinkney - writer & illustrator of books like A Starlit Somersault Downhill.

Nancy Tafuri - uses large pictures of animals which encourages description of details and unique body parts (ex: webbed feet on ducks for swimming).

Also look for juvenile literature about the seasons.

For kids interested in nature, there are also DVDs such as:

Wild Animal Baby Explorers
Young minds are introduced to nature and all its beauty, and a foundation is laid for a lifelong love of wild life, and places.

What nature crafts do you enjoy?  What are your favorite books about nature?

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