Usually we have art and nature study on Fridays, but since I’m worked last Friday, we rescheduled with our friends for Wednesday. We try to meet once a week. Beth is in charge of the nature hikes and I’m in charge of art. We hike Radnor Lake or Warner Parks. She alternates a shorter hike appropriate for all the kids (including 4-year-old Doodlebug) with a longer, more difficult hike to challenge the big kids. I usually run errands or set up the art activity while she hikes with the big kids.
Last week we explored the Candy Cane trail in Warner Parks. (That’s probably not the real name, but the trail is blazed with red and white striped marks.) It was longer than most of our short hikes–around two miles round trip–but mostly flat terrain. We set out with six kids, two puppies, and two moms. Beth sets very good rules and the kids follow them well. We bring water and snacks and stop when needed. The weather was beautiful and we all enjoyed the hike. Doodlebug needed to be carried a couple of times, but after a short rest he was fine.
We stopped by the Nature Center and looked into the pond. I promise this picture wasn’t staged. They ran around the pond to look at a turtle sunning itself on a log. It slipped into the water and some of the kids watched while the others looked at raccoon tracks.
We had to stop by the Ladybug playground and somehow, despite we were only there about 5 minutes, everyone came out covered in dirt and dust! A quick stop by the giant chair for a photo-op, and we were ready to trek back a mile to our cars.
We are using Artistic Pursuits, Elementary Years Book 3. I’ve used the two other elementary books and have truly enjoyed them all. I tried other art like Drawing with Children. I liked the book, but didn’t have the time or creative brain cells to come up with a picture for them to draw every week. Artistic Pursuits has prints of beautiful art to study, a short bio of the artist and points out some technique or something about their art, then the children are given the opportunity to use what they learned in their own creation. The instructions are clear and the projects actually work. The children are pleased with their results, and I am too.
There are three levels of books: elementary, middle school and high school, each level with three books. They cover art in stages–The elementary level book one is ancient art through medieval times; book two is Middle Ages through Romantic Period; book three starts with Impressionism and ends with modern art. There is drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking; all kinds of media are used and enjoyed. You can buy supply kits that have everything you need in one box, or go to Michael’s or Plaza and pick it up yourself. Unless you use Michael’s 40% off coupons and buy one item a week, it’s cheaper to get the package of supplies. I get mine through Miller’s Pads and Papers and they are wonderful! They also have a quarterly newsletter with art activities and contests. Get a pack of their construction paper while you’re at it. It’s the best quality and the lowest price and the colors are gorgeous! They have supply kits for many popular art curricula. I love looking at all their art supplies. If you are interested in their kits, on the left hand side click on “Art Supplies” and drop down to “art kits.”