Savoring summer

The beauty of summer is here and gone so quickly.  A great way to preserve some of its magic is to paint, draw or photograph the things you find in your yard.  In our yard, daylilies are a burst of color that greet us early in June and are gone by the middle of July.  Take the time to admire them each day as they bloom and create something to remind you of their beauty during the cold, colorless winter months.

Before painting or drawing, encourage children to take a close look at the object.  If it is a flower, point out the parts of it.  Talk about what colors are seen in the flower.  Talk about the shape of the leaves and the thickness of the stem.  Ask your child what colors they will need to recreate it.

It is important to remember that it does not matter what their creation looks like.  It may be an inspired rendition of a daylily or look nothing at all like one.  The value is in observing what is around them.  Noticing colors, shapes and functions of the things they find in nature will hone observation skills.  It will force them to compare and contrast.  It will force them to question and appreciate.  Below are three different renditions of daylilies in our yard.

Each child, depending on their age and interests will take something of value from the experience.
Your five year old scientist may learn how to identify things in nature.  Your toddler may simply enjoy the fun of painting outdoors.  Your child with special needs may increase his vocabulary or improve his fine motor skills.  You can easily do similar activities every day this summer.  There are caterpillars to investigate, birds to watch and bushes and trees to explore.  You will all benefit from spending time together outdoors taking in all that summer has to offer before it is gone!

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