This summer has been a lovely one thus far, albeit busy.
We’ve been embracing the outdoors and natural learning.
As we prepare to begin a more structured year of at-home preschool, I have been researching products, activities, and learning theories.
Most of my ideals center around nature-based learning, hand-on learning, and child-guided learning. A lot of times this translates into messes as two and four year olds are messy learners because they are four and they are inquisitive and nature is full of, well, dirt!
Thus, my jump into homeschooling has been accompanied by a search for products that will help us through this process.
I recently became aware of Gathre mats and fell instantly in love. Their design, color scheme, quality, and practicality had me intrigued. So, when Gathre sent us some micro mats to use in our schooling experiences, I was thrilled.
They were instantly put to use and have quickly become an integral part of our days.
For our first Gathre experience we worked on a project for our Nature pals (part of the Nature Pal exchange program). We had collected some Eucalypus bark on a family hiking excursion and had also collected a plethora of mussels at the beach during a lunch time adventure at a local cove.
We decided to make picture frames for our Nature Pals out of the found items. Here is how we did it:
- Eucalyptus Bark
- Mussels/Shells (can be done with many found items in nature: leaves, pine needles, flowers, etc.)
We placed the Gathre mats on the table and covered them with our found items, and paper plates that held a small amount of glue and some Q-tips. First, we glued the Eucalyptus bark pieces together to form a square. Then, using the Q-tips to apply the glue, we glued the mussels onto the frame. Simply let them dry and ta-da!
I was initially worried that I would ruin the mats with the sticky glue, but it wiped right off with a damp rag. I set them in the sun to dry and they looked brand new.
We went on to use the mats for plating some seeds for the girls’ own gardens. Dirt, water, and mud also watched off easily. I became confident that these mats were indestructible and we have since been using them for everything! The girls often use them as placemats during meals, for watercoloring projects, and for play-dough and modeling clay play as well.
I love products that are simple, versatile, and practical. I look forward to a wonderful year of learning alongside our girls and I know these mats will be a big help.
I have my eye on a larger mat for more outdoor learning experiences as well!
Do you have any learning activities that you have loved doing with your kids? Pass them on to us! We love new ideas and we don’t mind getting messy!