Before Christmas I found a pattern to sew some special bags to fill with goodies for exploring nature. The designer of the pattern, Holly at Chez Beeper Baby, put out a free tutorial and pattern that is thorough and easy to follow. It took me several hours to finish each bag, but I was able to get them done in the nick of time to be filled and wrapped in time for Christmas. The kids thought they were pretty cool – it made the list of Annika’s top favorite presents she got this year.
Inside I put some colored pencils, a sketch book, a wooden stick pencil, a tiny little tape measure, and a Bug Bottle that included a bug identification book, magnifying glass, and record book. I also put in a little animal-themed pack of cards just for fun. There are several pockets, so you could find other items to include. Annika already put in a water bottle and her binoculars, and probably other little treasures she can’t do without. I wanted to include little bug boxes or canisters, but couldn’t source any of them locally at the last minute. Holly has a list of other items you could include in the pattern and on her website.
Here is the link to the pattern page: http://chezbeeperbebe.blogspot.com/2011/06/make-this-nature-explorer-bag.html
I had a lot of fun making these and searching for the perfect things to fill them with. The pattern might have a glitch in the measurement of the lining, but I was able to work around it. In the short time we have used these bags, the kids said they’d like a better closure for the top, and mentioned it would be nice to have the front pockets be able to close more securely. Annika also thinks her strap is too long, so I think I might be doing some modifying in the near future. But otherwise, these bags rock! And they have already begun to serve their purpose: yesterday, Annika asked to go exploring outside with their new bags! Out we went during a break in the rain showers, just to the green belt behind our home. The forest looks pretty dead and boring at first glance, but when we took the time to poke around, we found things to be amazed at.
It’s really nice to have dedicated bags stocked with whatever we need to explore. No more hunting around to find pencils and sketchbooks, binoculars and containers, only to put them in a plastic garbage bag because that’s easiest to find in the spur of the moment. Now we can just grab and go, making it easier to plan adventures near and far. I think I’ll make some zippered pencil pouches to match for their colored pencils, too. I look forward to seeing where these bags go this year!