July 24, 2014

Exploring and Painting in Nature

You know those families that show up for the art or science fair with amazing projects that you know the child probably didn't do himself? Or the blog posts that you Ooohhh and ahhhhh over when you see the perfectly painted pine cones, rocks, and shells. Yeaaaa, well you probably won't see that here. What you'll see here is exploring art, nature, and letting the child take the lead. Call it Free Range learning, Reggio Emilia, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, or any other educational philosophy that believes in incorporating nature into your learning, but here at Natural Beach Living we call it our life.    
By setting out an invitation to explore, you are allowing the child to interpret the items in their own way through undirected play.  

In your everyday life start collecting your children's findings. Whether it's shells from a day at the beach, or rocks, and sticks from a nature walk, you'll have them easily accessible for incorporating them into their play.

Some of our favorite watercolors are (affiliate links for your convenience) Sax Liquid Watercolorsand Sargent Art . They have beautiful vibrant colors and wash off easily. I'm all for washable products with kids.

For our natural art invitations I usually mix 1 Tablespoon of watercolor paint with approximately 1/3 cup of water. I do this for each color.  
Similar to a Reggio Emilia School, our activities don't start and end by the clock. They flow with the wonder and curiosity for a longing to explore more.

If you strive to bring nature and a sense of calming into your learning, I think you would really enjoy these posts.
Reggio Inspired Nature Table  
Nature Through a Toddlers Eyes

Thanks so much for joining us.
Visit Sew Pretty For You on Facebook and at her Etsy Store for these absolutely wonderful aprons and dresses. Make sure you send a message if you don't see what you are looking for.  Julianna custom makes everything and has great customer service.   

I would love for you to visit me on Facebook and Follow my Pinterest Boards for an easy way to get great ideas.
Visit Natural Beach Living's profile on Pinterest.


July 16, 2014

Easy and Fun Activities for Teaching Colors

I absolutely love this stage of learning, where everything is new and exciting. In fact, today I am going to share with you easy and fun ways to teach color. Toddlers are naturally attracted to colorful (especially shiny) things, so why not use that excitement to teach them. Learning colors is an abstract concept for young children and can take a lot of time and patience. Some children may pick it up quick and others might take a year or more to fully understand the difference in colors and be able to name them. The best thing is to apply color learning and activities in your everyday life.  
O and I should give you a heads up. This might be a little long, but it is filled with lots of colorful ideas. 
Our Super Easy Color Wheel!!!
This is one of Bells favorite activities. 
You can make this color wheel by:
 tracing a large circle onto a piece of cardboard (I used a large bowl that I had as my guide)
cut 6 pieces of different colored felt into triangles (try to make them close to the same size)
Spray the cardboard circle with spray adhesive than tack down each triangle piece
As for the colored items used to match the colored triangles, I just collected them from around the house. As you can see here, I tried to get some shape learning in too. 
Here is the color wheel in action. For the younger children they can pick up objects using their hands, for the older children you might want to try tongs or a scooper. This helps with working  their fine motor skills.  
Our All time favorite blocks are the Guidecraft Rainbow Blocks. The kids will play with them for hours. I love how you can place the blocks one in front of another and make a different color. It's awesome!!! Color mixing with out any mess. They also are incredibly beautiful when the sun is shining through them. They light up the whole room with colors.

I love to just watch the children explore these blocks on their own. It's such a lovely sight. 
 Another quick and easy DIY activity. 
I purchased this 6 cup muffin tin at the dollar store. 
Cut circles out of construction paper, and used craft pom poms in the same colors. 
Interested in teaching this activity:
I started by showing Bells how to take one ball at a time out of the bowl, look at it, then look for the matching color spot. Checking each spot for the correct color. I did this with all of the pom poms so she could get the feeling of how to do this activity. Then it was her turn. You can start out with 1-3 balls in each color and work your way up. 
Easy, peasy, inexpensive activity to put together.
You can also work math into your learning by making patterns. Genius!!!
How about some fun games with color cards...
1. Pick a color card and go on a scavenger hunt for things in your house.
2. Play hop to the color. Place the cards around the floor, or in a circle and have your child hop to that color as you call it out. 
3. Sing songs or make up silly rhymes about each color. Hold the color card up for your child and sing/rhyme. You'll have them laughing and playing, all the while they are remembering those colors. 
These color cards came from Confessions of a Homeschooler, I printed them out and laminated them for durability.
It is great if you can have a few fun, educational items to use. We absolutely love our peg boards, and not only is Bells learning her colors, we are working on language development, and fine motor skills.
Calming bottles can be such a joy in any room. They brighten up a space and the children love looking at them. At the same time you can use teaching moments to talk about the colors. O and you might want to make sure the tops are hot glued on (wink, wink)
Looking for other great themes and activities for learning colors? 
Click on the links below. 

Some other fun ways to stretch your color learning everyday is use colorful food and snacks. Think about an all red snack tray, or an all green breakfast. Dress your child in the color of the day outfit. Make it fun, and your little one will be a color pro in no time.

If you are interested in some of the fun things we use in our house. I added them here to make it easy for you. These are affiliate links which means you are helping my family out in our homeschooling journey. A great big thank you in advance :) 

I would LOVE for you to visit me on Facebook, and follow on Pinterest. You can see thousands of other great ideas and we can have fun sharing.


July 12, 2014

Watermelon Fizzy Sensory Science Play

When I think of summer, I think of the warm sun, the beach, children playing outside, picnics, and of course eating lots of watermelon. I also think it's a time that I need to come up with some extra activities to keep the kids having fun, and learning. On this particular day I had scooped out the middle of the watermelon for a fruit salad, and I knew there was something cool we could do with the rest of it. 
What I came up with was easy and super fun. 
All you need is 2 ingredients.
 Baking soda (I used a 1 lb. box), and Vinegar (as much as you want)
Feel free to add a couple drops of watercolors or food coloring for extra excitement. 
Sit back and let the kids explore, and enjoy some fizzy watermelon science sensory play. 

Summer should be filled with enjoyment.
Make it easy for yourself, yet thrilling for the children.
I hope you enjoyed our watermelon play and get the chance to try it out for yourself.
The children will love the squishy, bubbling fun!!!

Check out some of our other great Sensory play ideas
or how about an
You can also follow my Sensory Board on Pinterest. It is full of sensory play goodness. 

This post is part of our 12 Months of Sensory Play

Interested in seeing what my fellow bloggers are doing for their fizzy fun?!?! 

Feel free to link up any of your sensory play, and click around to see other great ideas.  


June 27, 2014

Montessori at Home Activities

Montessori is a philosophy developed by an inspirational educator named Maria Montessori. It has been around since the late 1800's and thrives even more so today. The Montessori approach truly focuses on the whole child. 
The idea of giving children free range (free to choose) from "prepared activities" in the home, is our focus today.  

The role of education is to interest the child profoundly in an external activity to which he will give all of his potential. ~ Maria Montessori
Montessori By Mom was developed by Nathan and Teresa Hadsall, two teachers whose goal is to empower parents to become educators with unique Montessori activities.
Montessori By Mom is Everything you need to focus on fun and learning. You will not have to worry about research, getting prepared, or any DIY materials. 
This is perfect for everyone that loves Montessori.

The Montessori activities that we received focused on Language Development, Practical life skills, Math, Fine Motor, Concentration, and more. You will find that with each box you receive, your child will be working on a variety of skills.  
 What you receive with this wonderful subscription is at least 6-8 different Montessori activities.
All of the materials you will need for these activities
Video instructions (which are AWESOME!!!)
Bonus activities, suggestions, and printables
Also each Montessori By Mom box is a theme for you and your children to enjoy. We love themes in our house, and this shells and starfish box was a perfect fit.  

Are you ready for your box?!?! 
It's easy and they ship Internationally. YAY!!! 
Best part 
during check out for $10 OFF

Interested in Montessori 3 part cards or other activities to add on to your fabulous Shells visit Natural Beach Living  for free printables and other ideas.  

Visit Natural Beach Living's profile on Pinterest.

Montessori By Mom does recommend their activities for children over 3 years. Some of the items can be a choking hazard if your child is still mouthing items. This was not an issue for me, because my daughter doesn't put things in her mouth. Use your own wise judgement and Enjoy!  


June 20, 2014

Learning the Alphabet with Activities and Crafts from A to Z

How much fun is teaching and learning the alphabet?!?! The answer is soooo much fun. If you are looking for some great ways to get your children learning their abc's, look no further. I have packed this page full of fabulous information, crafts, games, sensory play, printables, and more. All for you and your little one. 

You can check out all of our Letter of the Week activities 
here at Natural Beach Living.

How about a little Sensory Play with a wonderful alphabet book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at the Beach. 

Head over to Teachers of Good Things to see how to teach your children the alphabet with Lego's

Seven Thirty Three shares a fun and easy letter matching game

Learning the alphabet with Nightcrawlers from The Natural Homeschool. The alphabet mixed with Science...Awesome!

Living Montessori Now  has many different DIY alphabet boxes, perfect for getting organized too.

You definitely want to check out this amazing abc alphabet flower garden from Buggy and Buddy.

toddler APPROVED has a terrific abc matching game with a train and a super cool sticky wall, check them out.

Lemon Lime Adventures shares an icy i-spy alphabet adventure.

Crystal & Co will have you crafting through the alphabet with these fun projects.

ALLterNATIVELearning has a wonderful themes planer which includes the alphabet. I love free printables, don't you?

totschooling has a great alphabet sorting game with free printables to get your little one learning.

Letter P tot school from The Kavanaugh Report is Perfect!

 Letter S week from Wildflower Ramblings was soooo sweet.

School time Snippets, has an abc Carrot Patch sensory experience that is adorable.

If you want to stay up to date and see hundreds of other amazing abc activities to get your children learning, Follow me on Pinterest
Visit Natural Beach Living's profile on Pinterest.

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