Right before lunch time today my kids finished their summer read aloud: A Nest for Celeste. I first heard about this cute little mouse over at Nancy's Sage Parnassus. We had just finished a few weeks of some wonderful readings about Mr. Audubon, enjoyed some of his paintings, my oldest two had visited the Camarillo Bird Museum in CA and had gone on an all day tracker field trip on birdwatching. I knew they would enjoy this book too.
Late in June I decided this would be the read aloud for the younger boys. My seven year old daughter immediately decided she wanted to be part of our readings. Great! Then by chapter 15 my oldest decided she liked this too. It sounds familiar. By midway, I was no longer doing the readings. My oldest had taken over. She is a great reader; she even changes her tone in parts and with characters. I love to hear her read!
What I really didn't expect was that this little book would end up also inspiring my kids to watercolor painting. My four year old one day had caught a little moth butterfly and had placed it in a mini butterfly tent. The immediate reaction was to take out our watercolors and start drawing. Since then we have picked several flowers and insects to draw. My quiet observer can catch them for us and we are inspired.
After several sessions of this, I was inspired to do a project of my own. I kept cutting our watercolor paper into little squares just for our drawings. Then I realized I had the perfect tools to create little watercolor books for the kids. So I cut lots of 4x6 140lb watercolor paper, I used chip board for the backing, decorative paper for the front and my Zutter binder to wire bind the booklets.
A good friend recommended a few good tools to use for those very unlikely spills of water cups. I love them. I purchased the Aqua-flo Brush set for my little ones and a few of the Niji for myself and my oldest. I am still tempted to purchase a how to dvd but it's not a priority yet. I decided my little ones are still too little and it's best to just enjoy. We certainly are practicing a lot lately!
I did purchase the Eve Anderson's Teacher Training Tools on Nature Study after reading about it in Marcia's guest post at Educating Mother. I enjoyed it and it was helpful to see beginning tips for dry brushing technique in relation to nature study; especially since given by a CM teacher.
All this to demonstrate how one good living book can bring about such an inspiration, energy and connection to many subjects. My kids certainly enjoyed a very sweet tale about a cute mouse and I loved to see the relationship they created to Mr. Audubon, birds, nature, friendship and painting.