Nature Walk Inspired Fall Art Project

I'm always looking for new and fun way to get my boys interested in science, nature and learning.

My boys bought some Gak at our hotel and they've been dying to use it ever since.  Today I decided to let them play around with it as part of science.  We talked about properties of liquids and solids while trying to decide which category Gak fits into.  They decided it's a little bit of both!  It holds it shape for a while and you can bounce it like a solid but it will fill out the container and loose it's shape after a while like a liquid.  It's slimy and feels wet.  They were able to blow bubble with it like gum using a straw.  They cut it with scissors and put it back together again.  It was really rather neat.  
We read another chapter in our dragon book and did another quick lesson in our math books.  Then we headed out for a nature hike.

I knew it would be muddy since it's been raining for a few days but decided the fresh air was more important.  We observed the world all around us and how much it's changed even in just the past few weeks with signs of autumn everywhere:
  • We looked at all the different colored leaves and watched as the wind kept gusting them to the ground in great big bursts like confetti. 
  • We gathered leaves for our art project this afternoon and looked at how they mostly change color from the outside of the leaf inwards. 
  • On our walk we saw a heron, a worm, a baby snake, some frogs, and many different types of caterpillars.  
  • We watched a snapping turtle cross the field with the prediction that it must be a female getting ready to lay her eggs.  
  • We saw many butterflies and painted turtles (or sun turtles) sunning themselves on logs and a few of them crossing the road to get to the creek.  
  • We felt the shell and tried to help them move closer to the water and out of the road.  
  • We saw a few different types of spider webs and Alec started teaching us all about spiders.  I had no idea that some don't even spin webs but stalk prey like a tiger.  One type of spider even eats small birds instead of being afraid of them like most spiders.  He had tons more facts for us.  I just had to ask him how he knew all this.  His response was that he had been reading the new Zoobooks magazine he got in the other day and it was all about spiders.  I never even saw him pick it up! 
 I often comment on how much they're learning without them even realizing it but they continually show me how much they're learning when I don't even realize it!  

Best we can tell this is a yellow bear morph

Spider web w/ dew on it
Heron in the swamp
See the baby garter snake?  My boys thought he was cute
We saw tons of sun turtles sunning themselves on the log

one of the caterpillars we saw- a Hickory Tussock Moth caterpilar
"Frog on a log... it rhymes"
milkweed plant (we think)

Snapping turtle walking through the grass

After hiking and lunch it was time to tackle our art project for the day.  We were drawing leaves, using some of the ones we brought home this morning as inspiration,  and coloring them in using oil pastels. 

Ian (my non- artist) was the only one who felt like doing art this afternoon and we're both thrilled with how well it turned out!

He traced some of the leaves he brought home with him from the hike this morning and colored them in using oil pastels.

He used bright  autumn colors and it came out lovely.  It was so wonderful to see his beaming smile filled with pride.  He's usually a bit disappointed  in how his pictures turn out so I was happy to see him so excited about his final picture.

I just wish the oil pastels we had were more oily and blended better since I was a bit disappointed by the way they didn't really cover the paper but, on the plus side, I didn't have a mess to clean up when art was done!  I did, however, have a lovely fall picture to display.  



  1. I love this idea, and I love the landscape. Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned.


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