“Of all man’s works of art, a cathedral is greatest. A vast and majestic tree is greater than that. “
Quote by Henry Ward Beecher
Nature provides countless opportunities for discovery, creativity and problem-solving. In nature, children think, question, and make hypotheses thereby developing their inquiring minds. Whether they’re judging how much water is needed to make mud pies or considering where insects go in the winter, children are constantly thinking when they are in nature. These experiences offer real, authentic learning like nothing else can.
Being outside feels good. Children are free to explore, move about, and make noise, all of these delightful forms of self-expression that are often restricted indoors.
In nature, children can play alone or connect with one another, learn to share, and problem solve. In the natural world, children often collaborate to make up games and rules because there are no prescribed sets of instructions.
The fresh air of the natural world is invigorating and offers endless opportunities for physical activity, which, in turn, builds strong bodies. Exposure to sunlight means children absorb vitamin D which has many positive benefits, including contributing to a strong immune system.
Here are a few of the exciting Nature Studies lessons we have done so far:
This is a great exercise to improve hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills. It also aids visual tracking, strengthens the muscles used in pincer grip and develops spatial concepts by weaving over and under.
Mud kitchens encourage children to talk about what they're doing, and often the excitement of being outside and involved in messy play gets young learners feeling even more confident about speaking and sharing their thoughts. Not to mention the amazing imaginary and sensory play involved.
Besides learning more about insects, your child can play a role in helping local insects thrive by making our garden a sanctuary for them. Children can understand that even insects have important roles to play connected to ‘How the World Works’.
Flower planting-Sensory Exploration
Gardening can heighten all senses in children. They can feel the dirt, flowers, fruit, leaves and seeds, see the vibrant colours and sizes of plants, hear the sound of leaves rustling and fruit/vegetables being picked and smell the flowers, fruits and fresh herbs. Best of all, they can taste the outcome of their hard work! By engaging all five senses, gardening can help children to better understand the process of gardening and where their food comes from.
There are countless benefits to playing outdoors, but beyond the research and the studies, children deserve the chance to splash in puddles, make mud pies, build forts and run outside for no reason other than it is just plain fun! Even if they occasionally experience a skinned knee, a bug bite or get a splinter, playing outside is a fundamental part of what it means to be a child and the joy and wonder it provides is a big part of what makes childhood so magical.