As part of my mission to help my kids gain an appreciation for the outdoors, I loosely follow Exploring Nature With Children. I say loosely, only because it is aimed at older kids than Big Kid, at 2 1/2. I have easily been able to find materials/books/activities appropriate for her each week. It gives us a “mission” while we are outside which is nice. Based on her interests, there are some topics we dive into more deeply, and others we will explore more fully the next time around. I am also learning a lot too!
We recently studied the night sky. using books and activities. Right now the sun doesn’t set until around 8:00, and with a strict 7:00 bedtime (for a reason), we were not able to check out the actual starts. Next year I think we will. Here’s what we did:
After reading , Pete the Cat: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by James Dean, we made some star and moon cookies using sugar cookie dough, food coloring, and cookie cutters. Big Kid had a great time, and loved sprinkling yellow sugar on them. This was a fun book because it went beyond the simple version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” we always hear, and included the whole original text. We also adore Pete the Cat in our house.
We played a stacking/concentration game with stars from Montessori Restore after reading Our Stars by Anne Rockwell. The game was tricky for Big Kid, but she enjoyed it, and now it is on her toy shelf to play with. Our Stars was a perfect nonfiction introduction to stars and the solar system for Big Kid.
In response to Kittens First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes, we explored with some star stamps and ink pads. Just as much ink went on her hands, as went on the stamps, but it was a learning experience. Kittens First Full Moon made it to our bedtime reading shelf after the week was over, and is becoming a favorite. A little kitten sees the moon and thinks it’s a giant saucer of milk. His attempts to drink the milk are unsuccessful, but in the end gets what he wanted another way.
We read Stars, by Mary Lyn Ray, and played with play doh and star/moon cookie cutters. This is a sweet book that shows how special stars can be, but not just the stars in the sky, the ones we see in flowers, the one you keep in your pocket, and the ones you blow off a dandelion.
We had a great time with our night sky theme. Of course, an actual experience with stars would have been better, but that will come with age. I feel like these books we great to build background knowledge and interact with nature in a fun, age appropriate way.