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As many of you know, I work very closely with Anastasia from Montessori Nature in the blogging world. She is an amazing person and dear friend. It's rare that a day goes by that we don't chat with each other. Working with her has made my blogging experience so much more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined.
Anastasia is very passionate about nature and art. Her life experiences are very unique and definitely shaped her to be who she is today. As her partner in crime, I had the privilege of previewing her very first book: I See. I Wonder. I Create. An Art Activity Book, for free. I did not know what to expect from this book. Anastasia gave me no explanations ahead of time.
When I looked through the book for the first time, I could read, see and feel Anastasia's deep love and appreciation for nature. It was a sensory experience I could feel inside and out. It was very easy for me to imagine many of the things I was invited to draw. But, in all honesty, it didn't matter what I thought. This book was designed for children. What mattered was what they thought.
I decided to put Anastasia's activity book to the test. I didn't have to look far to find the most honest critics I know. After all, they live in my own home. This would not be an honest review, if I didn't express my hesitancy and anxiety when presenting this activity to the kiddos. You see, I'm not an art person. I love nature, but I'm not one that puts the two together. My kiddos enjoy nature, but are not artists either. Between struggles with fine motor skills, attention deficit problems, defiance when asked to follow directions, and meltdowns when unable to complete a task to one's own standard of perfection, this activity had the potential to be a big fail. But, I wanted to try.
I picked out pages from the book that I felt each of my kiddos would enjoy, and then presented them with the task. It took a little more time than I would have thought, for them to understand the process of closing their eyes and imagining something, but two of them have autism, so that would be difficult, especially if it's not something they're obsessed about, that's in their minds all the time. Even to tease those obsessions out was hard work. Once they succeeded at closing their eyes and imagining, I had to explain to them that they needed to open their eyes before they started drawing their pictures. Lol It was a fun process, but they learned something new, and that was fabulous!
Each of the kiddos took a different approach to their task. Princess, age 4, simply colored her picture.
I love that this book, as simple as it is, invited us into another world. This was HUGE for my kiddos. We've all enjoyed nature around us, but to be able to imagine something not in front of us, and how it would look, is something we don't do enough. Completing the art activities in this book is not just about drawing or coloring, but encouraging your child to go to a place, children so rarely go these days.
I highly recommend this book for kiddos of all ages. If my young special needs kiddos can do it, anyone can! Thank you Anastasia for giving my kiddos and me such a transforming experience.
If you're interested in experiencing what our family did with this great book, please visit Montessori Nature to purchase your own copy.