Category Archives: Crafts

Encouraging the young naturalist: make your own plant press

So, you’ve got a little Asa Gray on your hands… a kid who stops to smell the roses, and the dandelions, the geraniums, and the four’o’clocks.  She picks bouquets of flowers just to collect them, and is disappointed when they wilt in her sweaty palm before she’s even back to the car.

Please tell your child that Auntie Olivia understands her pain.  She too was once a wee one with a passion for flowers.  I was nine when I made my first plant press, collecting every weed I happened upon and carefully preserving them in newspaper, smothered beneath stacks of books.  “I’m documenting“, I’d say to explain away quizzical stares and barely hidden snickers.  Lewis and Clark were my  heroes, and I toyed with ‘sketching’ the natural world around me, so that posterity could someday look back and appreciate the new species I had found in my backyard.  Perhaps they would name it after me, I fantasized.

After years of experimenting with presses and ways to store away the beautiful flowers around me, I was introduced to a lovely and simple way to make a tiny plant-press by my good friend Harold (who’s beautiful wife had twins just last Monday!  Congratulations  you two!!!).  Your little botanist is in luck: today I’m sharing Harold’s simple plant press with you!

What you’ll need: (more…)

Bubblology: The Art of Gigantic Bubbles

Looking for something fun and a little different to do with your kids this summer? Something that requires little work on your part, is super-cheap, and will provide hours of fun for them? I’ve got just the thing. Bubbles!

Not just any bubbles either. Really big ones. Tough ones that don’t pop if you blink. Like bubbles should be.

Here’s the recipe (Make the solution the night before and let it ‘set up’ for best results): (more…)

Pre-K Lesson Plan: The Letter S, Senses

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I’m part of a co-op preschool, me and 4 other Moms rotate once a week hosting 2 hours of madness in our homes.  A few weeks ago I got to plan a lesson around the letter S. I focused the activities around the “senses” that start with S: sight, sound and smell. We had class indoors due to a chilly morning wind, but I’m including notes on what I had planned to do outside had the weather cooperated or had I warned parents to dress their children accordingly.

This lesson centered nicely around the following two books:

Introduction Book: My Five Senses, by Aliki


Book: What do You do With a Tail Like This, by Steve Jenkins, Robin Page (Read the section: What do you do with Eyes Like These)
– Do we use our eyes the same way as the animals in the book?
– What do we use our eyesight for?
– Let’s go on a scavenger hunt and see how well we can use our eyes.

Activity: Scavenger Hunt
Cut out or print off  small pieces of paper with the letter S. Write clues on the back of each paper that will lead the children to find the next clue. Hand a child the first clue, follow the clues to find all the letter S’s. Note: An outdoor scavenger hunt would be perfect for this.

-Letter S Papers

SMELL (more…)

Mapping 101

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Sometimes a trip around the block takes some careful planning.

101 Things To Do Outside

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I love this website. It’s so well done I like to just sit and stare at it. Click on the “view more” icon under the heading “101 Things to do Outdoors”. It has some great ideas for things to do outdoors, even if you don’t live in Idaho, which this site makes me wish I did…

Side note: You also need to click on the sun, moon and music in the top left. Awesome feature.


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

    I don't blog alone! Meet outsidemom contributer Olivia