Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: I See. I Wonder. I Create. An Art Activity Book

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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.  
Princess' work.
 Bulldozer, age 5 (with autism) thoroughly enjoyed making his spider web, although he decided it needed a spider, and then the spider needed to catch some food in his web.  I loved how he just kept imagining things.
Bulldozer's work.
 Dinomite, age 7, (with autism) struggled at first, insecure about his abilities, but then did an AMAZING job drawing different objects in his fossil rocks.  In fact, he ran out of room.  This didn't stop him from drawing one more thing.
All of the kiddos did such a fabulous job!  The boys, especially surprised me with their overall demeanor and enjoyment with the activity.

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.

Kids Learning Printables Linky Party #14

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Co-host:   Montessori Nature

This week at our house, we've been trying to get back into a routine for the new year.  The kiddos and I are all adjusting to our new schedule and so excited about new changes still yet to come.  I find it easier to take baby steps when making changes that will effect the entire family.

I was so delighted to see our linky party growing!  There were so many great printables shared.  As the new year starts, I'm trying to make some changes at Every Star Is Different also.  My Kids Learning Printables  Linky Party posts are not bringing in an audience for those being featured, like I would like.  I want everyone to know about your great printables.  Starting next week, you'll be noticing a few additions to the linky party posts in hopes that they will attract a bigger audience.  After all, YOU deserve a bigger audience.  Thank you so much for linking up your great printables!

Here are my features for the week:
 1.  Student Calendar from A is for Adventures of Homeschool.

3.  Tanogram Inspired Shape Puzzles for Toddlers from Totschooling.

4. Squigz Building Cards from Memorizing the Moments.

5.  Watermelon Do-a-Dot Printables from Gift of Curiosity.

Here's how this works!

1.  Link up to 3 educational printables for kiddos.  Free, paid, and giveaway printables are welcome.
2.  Add our Kids Learning Printables Linky Party Button to your post or blog.
3.  Support your fellow educators by commenting, pinning, and/or sharing the post published before yours.
4.  If you're not already doing so, follow me on FacebookPinterest, Twitter, and/or through my blog.
5.  You give me permission to use and repost images from your blog.

1.  Visit all posts.
2.  Share and pin as many links as possible throughout the week.
2.  Feature my favorite posts in next week's link up.
3.  Get to know you, your blog, and your printables for future use.

Let's get this party started!
Every Star Is Different

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