Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Little Mouse Inspires Watercoloring

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.


jenmack said...

Oh, I just loved this post, Jenny!!! The watercolors are delightful - and your creative binding of the little watercolor books is inspiring!

Wonderful post!

Silvia said...

I'm so enjoying your posts, Jenny. I also read about that book, I added it to my wish list, and you know what, a good friend called Pam, promised me to send it after they finish it.

I'm glad to know it's going to be a wonderful reading.

Shirley Ann said...

Am I glad that you popped by my blog (Under an English Sky) I LOVE your blog and have already put it on my bloglist so that I can pop in frequently ;o)
Thanks for the advice on posting comments - it has worked!
Shirley Ann

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Thanks Jen for the kind words, they mean a lot!!

Silvia, the book was really fun.

Your welcome, I'm glad it worked Shirley Ann. I look forward to reading more on your blog.

Gae said...

Dear Jenny,
I love it when a book inspires creativity of any sort. I especially admire art work as I am quite deficient my self. Thankfully our children seem to be more talented. I actually think homeschooling allowed them confidence to do this that I never had
I enjoyed dropping in and seeing your lovely blog
God Bless

Dorie said...

What a fabulous summer read aloud and related activities! I love how the children were inspired to paint - beautiful.

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Thanks for stopping by Gae and Dorie; I'm glad you enjoyed this post!!

Anonymous said...

how well do the aqua flos work?

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Hi Anonymous, My kids have gotten used to always having an Aqua Flo brush for watercolor times. They are medium size so they still keep a thin brush handy for lines/details. I love the mess they've eliminated especially since everyone always wanted their own water containers ; )