As homeschool parents, we generally think of nature study as a way to learn about science, or to learn about God through it, His second book. Sometimes we view time in nature as a means for recreation and physical activity. But this time can also provide impetus for creativity! Nature study can produce creative results, stimulates creativity, and refreshes ideas. It becomes a means of creating and achieving artistic expression. Nature as a means of creative expression requires time that is spent in quietness and observation. It is a time that happens without motors and gadgets. A good pair of walking shoes, binoculars, a sketch pad and pencil, a bottle of water, and a small backpack to carry things in are the only resources needed. Hiking through fields and meadows, climbing mountain trails, observing on the ocean shore, and meandering along a stream or river provide opportunity to gather, collect, and observe. The process brings refreshment to the tired and weary, eliminating the stresses of daily life. Even children find respite from daily stress as they spend time in nature.
How does nature observation provide a means to creativity? It stimulates creativity in many ways.
*Nature contains every color palette ever created. Complimentary,
analogous, and monochromatic color schemes can all be found with a
little effort and an impromptu treasure hunt.
* Nature provides a plethora of ideas for creative writing. Subjects
can be found for story, verse, or poem simply by looking around.
* Nature shows variable subjects for sketching and watercolor.
* Nature presents objects for sculpture. A collection of rocks,
twigs, dried plants, and sand can be glued together to make
* Nature brings many things that work together to create a centerpiece
or focal point for a space indoors. Twigs, rocks, moss, and flowers
can create whimsical scenes on the kitchen table.
* Nature is a perfect place to practice photography. Waiting quietly
for a bird or animal to come near, or staging a scene, give the
participant quiet time in nature as creative abilities are enhanced.
The opportunities nature provides are endless! Children can gather rocks, leaves, flowers, bark, and sand. Or they can search for feathers, arrowheads, egg shells, and nests. They can draw what they see. They can tell about their observations by writing in a journal. When they "glass" what they see with binoculars or scope their perspective changes. Children can build forts or blinds. They can observe wild animals, birds, tadpoles, frogs, salamanders, and snakes. They can picnic on a point, orbuild sandcastles on the beach. They can sleep in a tent in the woods, or hike trails and post markers along the way. Every experience in nature replenishes the soul and stimulates the creative aspects of the brain.
God created a universe that is personal, alive, vibrant, and ever changing. As we experience it with our children, we reinforce appreciation for Earth and the creativity it fosters in each being who takes the time to notice it. Through experiences in nature our children gain a better understanding of an infinite God as He speaks to the soul.