DIY Folded Paper Boxes

My youngest daughter wanted to sort and classify her sea shell collection.  This was a great Nature Study and Science activity, but we needed several smallish boxes to store the different shell types.  She displayed her shell collection on our Nature Study tray.

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We quickly made these paper boxes.

The nifty, practical aspects of these folded paper boxes are:

  • You can make them in different sizes … so they can nest in each other or form a top and a base to close your box!
  • The boxes can easily be stored flat, unfolded and ready for the next occasion.
  • You can use decorative craft paper or card stock for really pretty gift boxes or display boxes.

Here are the instructions and a free downloadFolded Paper Boxes

You will need:

  • square paper or card stock 28cm X 28cm
  • scissors
  • glue/ cellotape/ stapler

Fold your paper:

  • Fold the square horizontally in half & re-open.
  • Fold the square vertically in half & re-open.
  • Fold the bottom left corner and the top right corner to the center of the square, forming opposite triangles.Paper box 1
  • Fold both the newly made folds to the middle & re-open these folds.

Paper box 2

  • Cut along all 4 of the new fold lines, from the paper edge up to the edges of the triangles.Paper box 3
  • Take the top left corner and the bottom right corner and fold the corners into the center.Paper box 4
  • Fold again in half, so that the last fold is at the end of the cut lines.
  • Fold all 4 pointed strips to form folds in line with the 2 middle double folded pieces.Paper box 5

Assemble your paper box:

  • Fold the pointed flaps around the outside of the 2 center folds.
  • Insert the corners of the center folded piece into the diagonal fold of the flap. This part is a little fiddly, so mom, you may have to help here!Paper box 6
  • Tape/ glue or staple the outside overlapping flaps to the box.

Enjoy this craft project!

Blessings,

Notice Board – Nature Study

In my last post I featured the Current Affairs section of our new homeschool notice board.  In this post, I want to share about ~

Nature Study

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My Nature Study notice board includes 3 elements:

  1. Nature Photo of the Week
  2. Outdoor Hour Challenge month grid
  3. Nature Study tray display

Let me explain a bit more ~

Nature Photo of the Week

Barb of Handbook of Nature Study introduced aNature Photo of the Week.  She explains ~

“Nature photography is a huge favorite hobby of mine. Our home is filled with images from our travels near and far. This is something I have passed on down to my children and they all enjoy photography in their free time. I want to push my skills to the next level this year and in order to do that I have made myself a Nature Photo of the Week challenge. I will be taking photos each week to go along with a determined theme. At the end of the year, I will take my weekly photos, choose one from each month, and then use those images to create a customized family calendar for 2015.

I am happy to share my Nature Photo of the Week Challenge with any of you who want to play along. I have created a printable list of topics that you can use in any order you wish. I also have started a Pinterest board where I will pin my images and I invite you to as well.

You can join the Pinterest Board : Nature Photo of The Week 2014
You need to follow the Pinterest Board before I can send you an invite. 
You will need to send me your Pinterest name and I will send you an invite. You can comment here or email me directly at harmonyfinearts@yahoo.com”

My kids love capturing their nature study finds with a camera, so this challenge was right up their alley!  And with my smart phone, I can so easily snap and upload photos to the Pinterest Board.

I took Barb’s list (Nature Photo of the Week 2014 Printable and turned it into a quick-glance-chart ~

Nature Photo of the Week Chart
Here is your free download ~ Nature Photo of the Week Chart

Outdoor Hour Challenge month grid

You will also notice the Nature Study February Fun grid on the clip board.  Again Barb of Handbook of Nature Study encourages children to enjoy Nature Study with The Handbook of Nature Study with her Outdoor Hour Challenges. Each month she provides subscribers her OHC newsletter with articles, links, downloads and nature study activities according to season or theme.  The monthly grid (a lovely visual reminder) pinned up and on display encourages my children to get outdoors and observe, collect, journal or photograph.  And it doesn’t take an hour – just a short outing!

Nature Study Tray

Below the clipboard is our Nature Study Tray where we display any nature study finds.  Celeste (a mommy to 6 little kiddies under 8!) of Joyous Lessons has a marvelous method of displaying her children’s nature study finds.  Her young children collect interesting finds on their nature study outings and  when they return home, they place these items on a tray.  The children can then look up and label, draw and record their finds in their nature journals during the week.  Celeste describes:

The next week, I clear the tray, putting on our nature shelf the things we want to keep and discarding the rest.  Sometimes I grab some leaves and put them in the leaf press, between sheets of contact paper, or into someone’s journal with tape if he or she requests it.  Rocks, sticks, bark, and feathers either go into our little collection or out into the backyard for play.  And the tray is then wiped down, ready to be refilled with a new set of treasures after our next outing.  In a way, this holds me accountable too: I don’t like to clear out the tray until I have had time to document and sketch a bit, but the tray must be emptied to make room for our new finds. So through the routine, I’m nudged into at least a weekly journal entry.

This seems like such a minor tip–perhaps this is something you already do!  But if you’re anything like me, it’s little things, those easy habits that allow the “extras” to become smoothly woven into the rhythm of our days, that make all the difference.  Sometimes, when I’m having a busy week and I would normally be tempted to let our nature study slide, it’s this little habit that prods me to get out the colored pencils and notebooks!

This is a wonderful idea, Celeste!  Older children, homeschool graduates and parents can use the very enthusiastic younger children’s nature collections as a stimulus for nature journaling! No excuses for not doing nature journal entries!

As you can see, Nature Study is simple, easy and delightful!  Charlotte Mason encourages moms to also spend time outdoors with their children and simply observe and enjoy their children’s delight in nature.  This time is an investment in “Mother Culture” because, for an hour or so, you can forget the hum-drum of life and household chores!

Schedule in this “extra” in your week ~ see my “Theme of the Day” chart.

Much grace,

Tiny Frogs

Our Handbook of Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge this month features

Reptiles & Amphibians

My youngest daughter really loves to film, photograph and discuss her nature finds.

Here are her latest Outdoor Hour Challenge photo finds of small frogs in our fish pond.

These little frogs are teeny, tiny, only the size of a baby pinkie finger nail, and yet they are perfectly formed.

lara tadpoles

She left all the little frogs in  the pond.  

We remembered some of the misfortunes some tiny frog relatives had when she captured some early spring (last year September) and placed them in bottles …

They all died.

We thought that they may have starved to death and so, after a little research, we placed new frogs with some shredded lettuce leaves in a larger container.  Miss.L even put a few large rocks and stones in the bottle so that the frogs could spend some time out of the water.

Sadly, one rock fell over and squashed some other unfortunate little frogs.

And, worse still, one morning, those brave surviving frogs spied a small opening in the lid and escaped!

About 14 little frogs hopped and jumped through our house, all coming to the front door and some even managed to reach our stoep.  With great care, Miss.L took each carefully to the pond and set them free.  She felt that her attempts at raising these frogs in her aquariums had been a failure.

But, armed with the digital camera, “catching” these frogs was an absolute delight!

Join us for your OHC discoveries in the Outdoor Hour Challenge Carnival.  Submit yours here.

Blessings,

Mushrooms

Our Outdoor Hour Challenge this month features Moss, Lichens and Mushrooms

and this week we’d like to share our study on

Mushrooms

Fungi Finds

As with our moss and lichen nature studies, Miss.L captured her mushroom nature study finds on our camera.

She went off on her own and made me guess where she found the mushrooms!  I could identify the tiny white mushrooms as those that grow on an old tree stump in my veggie garden, and the slender stemmed white mushrooms that grow on the cow manure pile, but I was unsure about the brown mushroom … off to the field guide!

Which reminds me of our family’s first search through the mushroom field guide ~

Our first experience of eating our own wild mushrooms was when our neighbor visited us and brought us a handful of white mushrooms that he picked on his walk through our veld, which were delicious!

I’kowe (Termitomyces umkowaani) also known as Beefsteak Mushrooms

We have several kinds of edible mushrooms that grow on our grazing lands. Some are massive and can reach sizes over 30cm in diameter!

We are “fungi novices” and even though our field guide is very specific, it can be hard to differentiate between the edible and poisonous mushrooms!

After lengthy, detailed comparisons between our SASOL First Field Guide to Mushrooms of Southern Africa photos and physical descriptions, and careful examinations of our huge mushroom, we cut a section off and fried it in some butter and garlic.  We (only my hubby and I) ate a tiny helping.  It was delicious!  We waited for a while and then went to bed. We survived!  The next night we fried up the rest!  It was so large that we froze some.

Mushrooms can look very similar!

Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris) edible raw or cooked ~ your basic “button mushroom”

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Horse Mushroom (Agaricus arvensis)

and the infamous Death Cap mushroom ~

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Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) accounts for 90% of all mushroom fatalities worldwide!

I suppose nothing motivates one more to accurately identify a mushroom than when faced with eating a potentially deadly fungi!

This week we did not have to eat any samples, but we did enjoy photographing the variety on our farm.

Join us for your OHC discoveries!

Blessings,

Sharing this post in the Outdoor Hour Challenge Carnival.  Submit yours here.

Lichen

Outdoor Hour Challenge this month features Moss, Lichens and Mushrooms

and this week we’d like to share our study on

Lichen

Moss Lichen & Mushrooms2

Lichens abound on our farm … on rocks, trees, on old branches.

We loved the amazing variety in their colors and shapes.

We found examples of all three types of lichen as described below from Countryside Info ~

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Crustose 
encrusting lichens
Foliose
leafy lichens
Fruticose
shrubby lichens

Later, we spotted this moth on our kitchen windowsill and knew immediately that it would be perfectly camouflaged on any lichen on a tree!

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When Miss.L photographed the moth she noticed its tongue and quickly filmed it – sucking up the water splashes on the tiles!  What a long proboscis!

Later in the week I suggested that Miss.L capture as many lichen samples that she can find with our digital camera and then prepare a collage – a lichen scavenger hunt!

Here’s her Picasa-created collage ~more lichens

Join us for your OHC discoveries!

Blessings,

Sharing this post in the Outdoor Hour Challenge Carnival.  Submit yours here.

Moss

Outdoor Hour Challenge this month features Moss, Lichens and Mushrooms

and this week we’d like to share our study on

Moss

Moss Lichen & Mushrooms1

We have become nature detectives once again!

I think that our greatest tool is a digital camera.  Miss.L10 is armed and alert and scampers off to find moss, lichen and mushrooms. She already knows of one spot – her favorite place with a soft carpet of moss.  We stop in the shade and I photograph her feet on the wonderful, cool, velvety, green moss.P1160186 But Miss.L is off to show me her amazing moss discovery – some moss is tucked in a rock, all dusty, browny-grey, seemingly dead.

But she knows a special trick that I must photograph ~ if she pours water on this moss, it will instantly transform into lush green!P1160190 And so, I watch and record the instant recovery – in seconds the moss has revived!

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A small piece of moss is loose.  She takes it home so that we can examine it closely under our magnifying glass.

No roots?

How does it turn instantly green?

Once again, we do not have the answers and so we search our Handbook of Nature Study and the internet.

The moss is so pretty.  After seeing such lovely moss on Pinterest, we decide to put our moss in some bottles and display them on our nature shelf for the month. A dainty garden of moss and lichens arranged in some glass bottles.

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The next day Miss.L notices steam inside the bottles.

Steam?

“Where did the steam come from?” Miss.L10 asks me.  And, amazingly, she remembers,  “… transformation? …no, … transpiration!”

Yes!

Delightful nature discoveries!

Join us for your OHC discoveries!

Blessings,

Sharing this post in the Outdoor Hour Challenge Carnival.  Submit yours here.

Swallows

Outdoor Hour Challenge this month features

Birds

This past week we looked at the swallows flying over our farm dam.  They flitted down,  quickly skimming over the surface of the water and scooping up tiny insects, and then flying up to join the flock.  swallow flies over water

I tried to watch just one swallow. He must have made at least 5 catches before I lost him in the flock.  They fly in seeming random circles, up, around and then down to the water.  Such simple freedom!

I suggested that Miss.L and I find the swallow’s nests.  But we were disappointed.

Several nests were old and broken.P1160092

We could see the grass and feather lining inside this broken nest.  There was not one active swallow nest under any eave or in any shed or storeroom.

We wondered why.

They must be nesting somewhere … but where?P1160096

We found evidence of new starts on nests under an eave, but for some reason, the swallows left to try somewhere else.

Our nearest neighbor is over 700m away. Perhaps they are nesting there?

Our bird nature walk has turned us into detectives.

Who knows what we’ll find.

Back home we researched the swallows on Google and we enjoyed Anna Botsford Comstock’s description in The Handbook of Nature Study of the different swallows ~

“The barn swallow has a distinctively tailor-made appearance; its red-brown vest and iridescent blue coat, with deeply forked “coat tails” give it an elegance of style which no other bird, not even the chic cedar waxwing, can emulate.” (page 111)

Lovely!

Blessings,

I will share this post with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Carnival.

Rocks & Stones Experience

We enjoyed our month of Rock Outdoor Hour Challenges and my own Stones and Rocks discipleship week.

Rocks & StonesAlthough we have been outdoors most days, and have quite an impressive new rock and stone collection on our table, we have not approached our time scientifically.  I enjoy my child’s natural delight and detailed observations, but we did not research, compare, investigate, analyze, or even note our findings.

It was more a simple pleasure.  

And Charlotte Mason would approve.  She encourages us to give our children regular opportunities to get in touch with God’s creation and to allow these experiences to form a source of delight that will last throughout their lifetime.

So, with this as my long-term approach, I am confident that a scientific approach may develop in time.

(May I encourage young moms not to do what I did when I started homeschool? In my early days with my eldest child, I over-emphasized our nature study sessions and made it too intense, too heavy.  I was very ‘results’ orientated.  This approach stunted my child’s natural delight and she eventually pulled out of our outdoor hour times.)

Right now, our nature study is planned as a natural nature experience!

How have you enjoyed your nature study times?  What works for your children?  Have you any tips for new moms? Please share in the comments.

Blessings,

This post was submitted to the Outdoor Hour Challenge carnival.

Discipleship with Stones & Rocks

I love combining subjects and themes!7-stones-300x240

Our Nature Study and Outdoor Hour Challenge (OHC) theme for this month is

ROCKS

It works wonderfully with a Bible Study!

Here’s your free week’s discipleship with stones and rocks ~ Discipleship with Rocks and Stone

stones & rocks 1

Each day presents a simple practical outdoor activity, provides prompts for personal reflection, includes some relevant scriptures and suggests an application.

stones & rocks 2Inspired by Leef met hart & siel (A South African Christian Magazine) November 2012.

Enjoy!

Blessings,

Journal Mammals

We live on a farm, so it was easy to study a whole range of mammals for our weekly Outdoor Hour Challenge

horses, sheep, lambs, cats, dogs, mice, and a heavily pregnant cow!

I encouraged the kids to sketch and/or paint the animals of their choice, and took our “What to Draw and How to Draw”  sketch notes by E.G. Lutz along, but when her pictures did not turn out as she wanted, Miss.L10 became discouraged .

I gave her the camera and asked her to take several photos of the animals.

She could simply print out the photos she liked and write her observations, or use the photos to make more realistic sketches.

I enjoyed sketching and painting several of our farm animals ~

subtly read selections from Anna Botsford Comstock’s “Handbook of Nature Study” and we discussed the cow in quite a lot of detail.  We loved the description of “illuminated with gentle eyes”  because we all think our cow’s eyes are mesmerizing!

Despite our genuine hands-on work with our gorgeous Jersey milk cows, Anna’s scientific information about milk production was really interesting and her detailed descriptions of the different cow breeds made us examine our Milly with new eyes.  Her bony hips and slightly concave spine and dainty legs are characteristic of her breed.  We smiled at the description of her “fly brush” tail as we have all had a swipe across the head at some time while milking!

I hope to read a little more about horses and sheep as we spend more time this week completing our mammal studies.

What have you enjoyed in this month’s OHC?

Blessings,