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An Enriching Nature Walk, and Paint Brushes Made with Natural Material

nature walk 5 senses with kids art natural paint brushes

Are you seeing and feeling the first signs of Autum/Fall in your part of the world?

We definitely are! Everything seems so pleasant last few days – the early morning ultra-cool breeze, the afternoon sun, the wild flamboyant wind that have our doors and windows dancing to its tune…

Pari and I went for an impromptu nature walk yesterday at 11 AM. And, no we didn’t have to go to the woods to enjoy nature. Our backstreets are as good as jungle treks these days!

Check out some thoughts (and pics) on how we were able to create an enriching nature experience using stories, senses, song, dance and art. And, overall – by being truly present in the moment.

The bylanes behind our residential complex have metamorphosed beautifully after heavy rains this monsoon. These deserted paths have wild treasures hidden and strewn about – for the curious, nature-loving souls.

These Bajra (in Hindi) or Pearl Millet or Cattail Millet that you see in the picture below are all around in our alley. They have sprung up from the grain that people feed to the pigeons. What a lovely sight for us nature-starved souls…

appreciate nature in your own city

joyful nature in childhood

Not just a beautiful sight but a joyful sensory experience too. Pari couldn’t help touching the fluffy bajra pods.

The Aak (Sodom’s Apple or Swallow-wort) plants are in full bloom, too – their mauve and purple accent can inspire home-decorating ideas. Don’t you think so?

Aak flowers or Sodom's Apple or Swallow-wort

The Datura plant (below) has an interesting story. Here, in India, we call them Dhatoora. They’re also known as Angel’s Trumpets or Moonflowers. They were well known as an essential ingredient of love potions and witches’ brews.

Interestingly, both Aak and Dhatoora have great mythological significance in the Vedic texts. They are said to be Lord Shiva’s favourite.

mythological story behind Dhatoora - flowers of the Aak plant

Pari was amazed to know Shiva is fond of the juice of the thorny Dhatura fruit!

Besides its mythological significance, the Aak plant is very important in Ayurveda for its medicinal value. Read this article to know why Aak is considered a life taker as well as life giver!

And, here’s a wonderful, free e-book that documents the traditions associated with plants since ancient times in India.

From Shiva to ‘Bajre ki roti’ (Pearl Millet bread) – we talked about how my mom rolls out the Bajra dough in her palms – without using a rolling pin. Watching her do that is pretty amazing!

In the next couple of hours, we discovered, explored, touched, felt, smelt a ton of things.

  • The young, tender and shining Peepal leaves. We talked about how glossy they looked as if nature has applied a coat of varnish or glass colour. We compared them to the older leaves. We also touched and felt that their veins were not prominent.

nature walk leaves India

  • Leaf Shadows dancing in the wind

shadow and light play photography

  •  Insects, Bugs and Butterflies. Interestingly, these days Pari and I are enjoying the I Wonder Why book about Creepy Crawlies and learning how to differentiate between insects, bugs and other creepy crawlies (insects have head, thorax and abdomen but in bugs thorax and abdomen are fused). This nature walk helped us apply that information in practical ways.

insects VS bugs

  • Spider webs, ant colonies, eaten-up leaves (most likely by caterpillar?)

leaves eaten up by caterpillar

  • Pari danced to the music of the wind, while I sang. Ever since I got passes to that Arif Lohar concert – from my brother and sis-in-law – as my birthday gift, I can’t stop singing this song. Isn’t that so thoughtful of them.

dancing in the wind

Listen to the song hereYou may not be able to make out the meaning, but the music is so awesome, it’ll grow on you…

We both really enjoyed in the moment – singing and dancing to the tune of the fancy-free winds swaying everything that they were passing over.

wind

More Stories in the Middle of Nature Walk

The Neem (sorry no pic) is a very common tree in our part of the world. We stopped by to smell the leaves and pluck some so I could dry, crush them up and throw in the boxes of rice, pulses and other dry items. Neem keeps the bugs away from food items.

I shared with Pari some stories from my childhood about how we boiled neem in water and used the water for bathing to keep rashes and skin diseases away.

All this tied back to art and play at home.

This is how…

natural paint brushes

We made paint brushes with weeds and grasses and painted in our art journals…

painting with handmade natural brush

Even used the bajra (Pearl Millet) pod to paint lovely textures.

painting with natural things

Come back soon to see our finished paintings… :-)

Some related resources…

What kind of nature activities do you enjoy as a family?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sejal September 26, 2012, 4:57 pm

    Visiting your blog is an experience! Lovely pictures and wonderfully used words….I’m your fan.

    • Rashmie September 26, 2012, 8:15 pm

      Sejal – I really appreciate your kind words and support. So happy that you enjoy visiting my blog. That means a lot to me. Much love…

  • Kimira September 27, 2012, 7:15 am

    This was truly a lovely post, the way there is great beauty in simple things. thanks for sharing your urban nature experience. Often Ii despair that we live in an apartment and donot have space to garden and stuff like that, However, reading your post has reminded me to look for small beautiful things

    • Rashmie September 27, 2012, 11:50 pm

      Kimira,
      Yes, I feel too that a small piece of land to dig, sow, water etc would have been ideal. But then, till we have something like that, I try to find work arounds to still be able to connect with nature.

      You just emphasized the most important thing to me – there’s great beauty in simple things. Thank you :-)

  • shalini September 27, 2012, 12:02 pm

    OOOOOOOhhhhhhh Rashmie,
    What a beautiful blog :) Which part of Delhi do you stay? I envy the awesome nature you are experiencing :)

    • Rashmie September 27, 2012, 11:53 pm

      Shalini,
      Will send a mail with our address. And infact, inviting you to come over this side and share in a nature walk with us :-)
      Actually, Delhi has been pretty green this season – all around. Just have a sneak peek into the bylanes and other deserted areas around your house. You know – those streets with less traffic etc.

  • Maro's kindergarten September 27, 2012, 4:25 pm

    I have recently discovered your blog and I love it! You have a different perspective than the usuals and you beeing so in toush with nature makes me feel like home!

    • Rashmie September 27, 2012, 11:55 pm

      Welcome to Mommy Labs, @Maro’s Kindergarten :-)
      So happy to know you felt at home and liked the perspective over here. It means a lot! You made my day, my dear :-)

  • Laura @ Pruning Princesses September 27, 2012, 5:01 pm

    Visiting from SITS. Great inspiration. Hoping to make nature walks a part of routine thanks for the inspirations.

    • Rashmie September 27, 2012, 11:56 pm

      Thank you, for visiting from SITS, Laura. I hope to see you again soon here, and on your blog. :-)

  • Laura Grace Weldon September 27, 2012, 6:57 pm

    Wonderful way to take a nature walk, then incorporate nature into art. Inspiring. Oh, and I blame you totally for getting that Arif Lohar song in my head!

  • Rashmie September 27, 2012, 11:58 pm

    Laura,
    So glad you heard that song and are enamoured! I’ve been listening to it non-stop!

  • Ann October 4, 2012, 4:52 am

    I am dancing to your music now too! This post is so full of awesomeness!!!

    Love all the plant info! We have cattails here too. I wonder if ours are edible.

    & thanks for linking to my post : )

  • "Auntie" Angela April 17, 2013, 8:30 pm

    Creating different textures by painting with natural materials is a fun concept. I’m always looking for ways to include nature in my daycare activities. Thanks!