Tips to nurture your little ones' connection to nature
Nature inspires children to think, act, and come up with their own ideas. When youngsters participate in outdoor activities, they tend to become engaged and focused on the task at hand. Introducing nature and the natural environment for early childhood education has many benefits. Here are some simple techniques you can use to integrate nature into your little ones’ education!
- Let your children choose what they want to explore.
Allow youngsters to explore nature and observe what they come up with on their own, without making suggestions. Do they like to run, build or climb? Even a basic task like digging might lead to exploration because children will learn how to dig, feel soil and determine the angle of the slope before scattered dirt slips back down.
This exploration makes learning in nature more interesting to children, because it doesn’t really feel like learning. Whilst your little ones explore the great outdoors, they pick up basic skills and tasks that they can’t really learn indoors.
- Use the same space each time.
It's important to use the same place each time so that your little ones become comfortable and familiar with the area. They can use this consistency to improve their climbing, running, and jumping capabilities.
Use the same location to record changes as well, whether it’s falling leaves, a change of weather or even new animals! All of these things can help children form a strong bond with one natural space, as well as help them love and appreciate the natural environment.
- Connect outdoor and indoor learning experiences
Connecting children's indoors and outdoors experiences is another way to delve into nature-based education. If they've been playing with worms and have noticed them on sidewalks and when it rains outside, you can read them a storybook about worms when you go back inside.
These activities are designed to link children’s interests and previous outdoor experiences. The distinction between indoors and outdoors is blurred because of this. This teaches kids that we are not distinct from the natural world, but rather a part of it, which is an important part of nature-based education.
- Bring nature inside.
Nature can also be reintroduced into our living spaces. Natural elements can be used for early education in interior surroundings. For example, children's artwork could be displayed on tree branches hung from the ceiling of their rooms.
Children's imaginations are sparked by loose materials such as pinecones, seashells and leaves that can be safely placed in play baskets. Exploration can also be done using natural artifacts such as feathers, fossils, or a bird's nest.
Nature's beauty, purpose, and gifts are reinforced when included in early childhood education. Allow your children to enjoy their amazing connections with nature by opening the door to the outside!