As unschoolers, the world is our classroom! There is so much to see and explore just by stepping out your front door. Whenever we visit new places I love watching the kids discovering new things and hearing their many questions.
“Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge. They need adults to trust in the inevitability of this very natural process, and to offer what assistance they can.” – Earl Stevens.
Truthfully, you don’t need very much of anything for natural learning to occur. Learning happens all the time, we can’t stop it! Children are constantly soaking up all the knowledge they need from their environment and experiences.
When we go on a holiday, or even just a day out in nature, I often like to be prepared with a few things that might come in handy. Knowing my children and the kind of things they often do, and the ways in which they express their learning, I’ve gotten to know what things might be useful to take with us. We’re currently packing for a little 4-day adventure and I thought I’d share some photos of the things I’m taking for the kids. I want to stress though that none of this is essential for learning! You can take nothing but the clothes on your back and the same amount of learning will occur. It also depends on personalities and interests of course. With that said, these are the things that are helpful to us…
The main thing we take is art supplies! The girls create with the art materials every single day and I know, especially if we’re going somewhere overnight, then at least a pen and paper will be requested. They often like to draw or write about things they see or learn. I found this little caddy at Aldi and it’s perfect because everyone can see everything clearly and find what they need.
Clipboards and loose paper are really handy when we’re out for a stable surface to lean on. I just buy them cheaply at discount shops.
If we’re going on holiday I’ll also take the kids journals so they can record what we get up to or things they see, if they want to.
Paints and Paintbrushes
Watercolour palettes are easy to take out because they are the least messy. These are our favourite (you can see how well loved they are). They are Micador brand and you can find them cheaply in Big W if you’re in Australia.
If you take normal paintbrushes you’ll also need a cup of water but we are loving these water brushes (on the left) at the moment. You actually fill them up with water and then squeeze them to wet the brush. So easy to take out! You can find them in art shops or online at places like Amazon (here).
Pencils are always needed! I usually pack watercolour pencils because then they can be used as normal pencils or watercolours.
Markers. Our favourite brand of most art supplies is Mont Marte. I find they’re good quality but not too expensive.
And oil pastels because they’re a favourite with my kids.
Scissors, Tape, Glue
They often like to collect things when we’re out and stick them in their books, so these come in handy.
Another thing I pack are these great little microscopes. They are easy to use and small enough to fit in a bag. The kids really like them, especially on nature walks. I found them online at Modern Teaching Aids.
If we’re going on a holiday I’ll always throw in some books to read on the way. A few stories each but I’ll also think about where we’re going and pack some of our non-fiction books that I think might come in handy. So for example on our next trip I expect we’ll be seeing lots of wildlife: bugs, birds, plants, etc. So I’ve chosen a few books that might interest them or hold the answer to some questions that might come up.
And that’s it! If I could find the bug catcher I’d probably also pack that. A little basket for nature collections is helpful too, as well as a book to record any questions they want to follow up at home.
It’s by no means necessary to take anything at all but for us it always helps to be prepared if we have time and space for it! It’s always up to them if they use it or not but there’s something so lovely about doing art in nature that we’re not often sorry we bought it with us.