Nature Play All Year Round: Investigating the Elements: Water

There was a scattering of snow left in the forest and by the lake shore offering wonderful opportunities for my special needs student to investigate the element: Water

I try to have an offering for each lesson that allows for spontaneous exploration and free-flowing creative adventures.

This morning Elise noticed the paint containers were full of ice, what a delightful way to begin our nature art therapy session.

We then explored water play with water colours.

We made a bubble wand, using a stick and some wire, then blew the bubbles onto paper, adding ink, ice and snow.

We leave her artwork to dry and head down to the lake….Elise leads the way.

Elise stops at a patch of ice. She is fascinated by the rocks partially hidden in the ice.

Spontaneous exploration of interactive materials is how much of mankinds progress evolved

Having found a piece of driftwood earlier, Elise decides to pound the ice with her stick to try and break it so she can free the rocks. This was a wonderful challenge both mentally and physically. Elise asks if I would like to have a go at pounding the ice. (She loves to share everything).

Elise loved the sound of the stick hitting the ice – “I’m making music!”

Having successfully cracked the ice in several places, Elise then hunts for a smaller stick. She then proceeds to poke the thinner stick down the side of the rock and tries to lift it out.

Finally after lots of perseverance she gets the rock out, much to her delight.

And proceeds with another rock removal and then another.

We then investigate the larger piece of ice further along the lake-shore. This was extremely slippery which she loved.

We jump on the ice to break small pieces off then throw them into the lake to see what will happen.

These multi sensory experiences are incredibly beneficial on so many levels. By enabling children to explore, and to gather from, the natural world, they can touch, hold, feel and respond to things, in an intimate and personal way.

Using orange skins that had been saved from snack time, Elise creates a little land art.

In providing opportunities for your students to create nature art, you are gifting rich and meaningful experiences that widen, deepen and enrich the students learning process.

Elise loves coming down to the lake, to wander, run, skip and jump, hunt and gather, create, build, destruct, rebuild, walk, be still and ……. just be. She tells me the water makes her happy, she loves the sound it makes and watching it move.

Up in the forest there is more to explore…

Looking up the hill, we notice several deer and a young buck, offering great excitement. We stop what we are doing and walk quietly towards the deer, being mindful not to get to close and scare them. They seem curious and stay to watch us. We make our way up the hill to a patch of snow where we play with our coloured ice.

The snow is very hard, making a mini ice rink for our ice cubes to skate about on.

On our way down the hill we notice the deer prints. We measure them against our feet…how tiny they seem for such a large animal.

Carrying on from this session, we will investigate the deer a little more in our next nature art therapy session.

The snow began to fall just as our session was ending gifting a brand new canvas to play with tomorrow.

Smiles all around!

Later that afternoon, my son and I couldn’t resist playing with the coloured ice cubes too! Nature play is for all ages!

And what if you dont have access to a forest or snow or lake?

Creative exploration can be exercised anywhere. The domestic environment can also offer limited resources – go exploring in your own kitchen for example.

Observing nature in urban areas can be difficult but not impossible – an elderly man we know living in Clermiston, in Edinburgh, loves studying the many birds that visit the small garden at the base of the block of flats where he lives. He has also observed urban foxes, visiting badgers and is often irritated by cheeky squirrels. So it is there, but needs patience and late night watching!

Wishing you all a beautiful and creative week, with love and gratitude Marghanita x

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