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Now by Antoinette Portis

“Wonder has been described as a childlike passion to know and explore – an innate drive that runs even deeper than curiosity. It’s being present, noticing, questioning, searching, discovering and experiencing awe. Wonder sparks joy, keeps us thinking critically and questioning and even makes us more empathetic. Wonder may just be the key to kids’ agency, discovery, connection and wellness!” –Meghan Fitzgerald

An important part of wonder is being present and open to new experiences and new ways of seeing things. Antoinette Portis' Now is a perfect way to attune both our explorers’ minds and our own to the present moment.

Head Outdoors

After reading Now, head outdoors and go on a tour of your explorers favorite things. Look with them for sources of awe and joy right in front of you, right now. To practice communication and connection skills, you can name those sources of joy with sentence frames like our story “This is my favorite _____ because it’s the one that ________.”

What are we learning?

🔹Sparking wonder and joy – and we know kids’ learning sticks when joy is involved!


🔹Focus and Attention – looking specifically for actions and physical objects that cause wonder then naming them helps develop kids’ focus and attention to details.

Draw a Favorite / Become an Author and Illustrator

After reading Now and/or touring your explorer’s own favorite items and moments outdoors, try out a simple writing activity. Using paper of any kind and writing or drawing tools, let your explorer draw or write about their favorite item or moment. You can use the same prompt as above. Remember, this can be for all levels of writing and early writing – anywhere from mark making, to leaf (and other treasure) rubbings, to photos, drawings and written words. If your explorer is interested in making many, give them different pages and make a book out of them at the end. If you’d like a template, Antoinette Portis shares one here.

What are we learning?

🔹Writing Skills – a project like this gives space for all levels of writing skills and provides opportunities to work collaboratively.

🔹Book Making – allows chances for linking subjects, motivating kids, encourages a love of reading, includes mathematical concepts, instills confidence and autonomy, and inspires creativity.

Other books we love by Antoinette Portis: Not a Stick and Not a Box. Tinkergarten’s Founder Meghan Fitzgerald had a chat with Antoinette Portis and you can check it out here.

I’d love to hear which ideas sparked play and joy with your explorers or if you have any other connections for play! Comment below or tag me in your play on Instagram @magnoliaoutoor


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