Help Kids Explore the Outdoors and Develop a Lifelong Love of Nature
Award-winning author Jenny deFouw Geuder tells us what led her to create Nature Explorer, a book aimed at children, and its accompanying book, Nature Explorer Sketchbook.
One thing parents agree on: They want their children to spend less time looking at screens and more time playing outdoors. Jenny’s two new books encourage kids to do just that. Here is her story!
Nature Explorer really comes out of an overflow of two of my greatest loves: my kids and teaching. As an art teacher, I love helping kids see and appreciate nature—and then interpret it in their own ways.
I’ve worked for years to help kids see and explore the visual world around them, and I’ve taught “tips and tricks” to help them with their representational skills.
But becoming a mother really changed the way I looked at education and my students. As luck would have it, my two boys are in a nature-based school. But even before that, we were outside every day enjoying being messy and muddy.
I have so enjoyed seeing nature through their eyes, watching them explore and discover their world. They can play for hours without screens, just using sticks and their imagination.
And there is so much to learn and do! Nature Explorer is that intersection of my life: teaching and art; naturalism and information; but also my sweet, messy, and curious kids simply playing outdoors.
So get dirty! Ask questions. Draw what you see. Fill your own pockets with rocks and go exploring with the young ones in your life. Find out if you can see nature through their eyes too.
This book involved many happy hours up close with bugs, moss, butterflies, and frogs. We experimented and giggled—a lot! And we hope that you use this book to launch a love for the outdoors, a passion for asking questions about the things around you, and an appreciation for nature’s beauty and fun.
Pair the book with Nature Explorer Sketchbook, which encourages kids to draw, sketch, and record their observations in nature. The sketchbook doubles as a journal for taking notes or even writing poetry. Jenny inspires young artists to create their own works; her prompts and tips along the way offer direction for kids who might not know how to begin or who might be looking for different approaches to try.
Nature Explorer Sketchbook gives children a creative outlet for expressing their thoughts and feelings through artwork and written observations. It’s a keepsake for them to cherish, and it promotes an interest in nature.
About the author: Jenny deFouw Geuder is an award-winning artist and educator from Michigan. By day, Jenny teaches art at the middle-school level. Each year, she includes an art lesson and project based on the famous prints of John James Audubon. Jenny emulated this work at home, and she began painting her backyard finds, everything from leaves and flowers to birds. This soon became one of her favorite pastimes. She has always loved observing, and she found herself constantly learning more about the subjects of her paintings. To record these discoveries, she started taking notes about her observations. That process led naturally to her debut book, Drawn to Birds. She has continued her own artistic interests in commissioned work and personal topics. She primarily works in watercolors, but she also enjoys oils, ceramics, and graphite.
You may also like Jenny’s first book, Drawn to Birds.
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