February 20, 2010

The art of nature

I have this "discovery tray" on my coffee table in the living room. I took this photo after carefully arranging it. More often than not it is all jumbled up but that's ok by me. Julia is old enough that I don't have to worry as much about her putting things in her mouth. Instead we can talk about how the stones are smooth and how the coral used to be underwater with fish and how the seashells have stripes. Amanda Blake Soule talks about doing something similar in her book The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Connections. In her house, there is a special shelf that gets decorated with seasonal treasures.

I so wish to gift Julia with an appreciation of nature. To do so, I have had to make an effort to notice it. In the brief moments we have together outside, transitioning from our home to Granny's, we've noticed the pink and purple clouds, we've crunched our boots in the snow, we've listened for birds singing and then searched them out, we've watched squirrels, and, occasionally, we've found a treasure or two. She is beginning to notice things before I do – "Mama! Look! A leaf!" – and I am so pleased. Spring will bring even more outdoor adventures.

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