Nature Box From Walden Pond

nature box walden pond summer learning nature box summer learning Getting outside and getting creative: we all need to do it now more than ever. Walden Pond, an education center that draws inspiration from Henry David Thoreau, has built a creative connection to nature for generations of San Antonio children. They are continuing to do that through home-delivered Creativity Kits and Nature Kits; you can order from them, or build your own nature box. For more ideas about summer experiences you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Summer of Learning.

Nature Box: An Invitation to Play

With school and now summer camps cancelled, we were burning through our art supplies pretty quickly. But I don’t want my 3- and 6-year-olds on screens all day either. Walden Pond’s Creativity Kits and Nature Kits to the rescue. We ordered them from the Walden Pond website, and they provided hours of fun and sparked curiosity about the natural world right in our backyard. Nature Box walden pond summer learning

Art and Nature for Preschoolers

The best part about the Creativity Kits are that they are as hands-on or free range as they need to be for the adults in charge. For our young kids, we do regulate which supplies they have access to each day (if we just give them the nature box, they will tear through it and not make the most of each element). Beyond that, however, they are free to create whatever they want. The Nature Kits have a more prescribed lesson and art project, similar to what they do at Walden Pond classes. We found that for the 3-year-old it worked great to allow for a little less structure, so we let him get more free form with the art project part.

Creativity Kits for Grade Schoolers

Both types of nature box kits can be adapted to the temperament of grade school kids. Those who like structure could be given a specific challenge with the Creativity Kit, a la Project Runway or Top Chef. Those who like to color outside the lines could be entrusted with the entire kit to dream away. The Nature Kits are easy to use as a launch point for further exploration as kids with longer attention spans dig in. For instance, one activity about ants could have expanded into a daily observation of life on a backyard ant hill, documented by grade-school scientists. The crafts could be used to illustrate stories or as visual aids for reports on the animals with as much scientific fact or creative narrative as kids want to add.

A Nature Box to Span Ages

Teens probably would not be interested in the boxes themselves. (Though, who doesn’t love a box of art supplies?) However, for teens who will be babysitting siblings or neighbors this summer, the kits make excellent activities to do with their charges. Teens could also make activity kits as gifts for young children in other households—neighbors, or nieces and nephews. Walden Pond will continue to offer these nature box kits for as long as their doors remain closed. As more green spaces and parks open up, the kits will make an excellent complement to any nature-based outing. For more ideas about summer experiences you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Summer of Learning.

About the Author

Bekah McNeel is an education reporter for The 74 Million, a national education news site. She is also a native San Antonian, San Antonio ISD choice school parent, and contributes to the San Antonio Charter Moms blog under the title Hall Monitor.