With kids increasingly spending more time in doors and plugged in why not introduce children into nature while they are young? Children spend most of their day at school so there’s no better place to learn and connect with nature than in school.
With the help of adults, children can learn about being gentle and respecting other living things.
Nature also provides other benefits such as: Curiosity, exploration, imagination and patience.
- Being outdoors regularly helps children release energy and be less stressed, which allows them to focus on quieter tasks.
- Exposure to nature also enhances young children’s language development. This is because children will inquire about the names of the new things they investigate and they seek words to describe the processes they observe.
- Nature provides opportunities to be outside and more physically active. Children who are physically active are more likely to become healthy adults.
Plugging the classroom into nature.
There are multiple ways to bring nature into your classroom. Here is a list of ideas to get you started!
- Have a picnic with your classroom
- Have a schoolyard garden or wildlife habitat (students can share some responsibilities in maintaining it).
- Create nature art (students can create pieces of art out of rocks, leaves, sticks, bark, etc).
- Start a compost pile utilizing the school’s green space (this is a great way to make the connection between food, waste, and the nature at work).
- Teach your students how to recycle (students will often share the information they receive at school with the people who surround them).
- Adopt a classroom pet (this is a great time to teach about animals and how to care for them).
- Organize a nature-inspired show and tell (challenge students to bring something they find from their backyards or nearby parks and ask them to talk about their item. This promotes speech development and creates an opportunity to learn about habitats and ecosystems).
All of these ideas assist children in developing a connection to nature, through hands on experiences and questioning. These are but a handful of ideas – go outside, smell the fresh air and let nature inspire you!