Monday, July 6

FAIRMONT FIVE introducing young children to the wonders of nature




Summer break offers excellent opportunities to be outdoors, whether it’s visiting the beach, mountains, deserts, or even your backyard. Breathing fresh air, getting exercise, satisfying curiosity, and feeling a warm breeze on your face are a few of the many joys of exploring the wonders of nature.

Under the caring guidance of parents, young children can gain an amazing perspective of the world around them, from engaging in a backyard safari to spending a week at a national park. We live on a beautiful planet, and it’s worth exploring!

Here are five simple steps for parents to expand their children’s appreciation for nature:

Ecosystem outside your back door— A patch of weeds, flower garden, a green belt, and community park yield an abundance of tiny discoveries for young explorers. Children can record their observations by drawing pictures. Here’s an opportunity to teach the importance of examining and appreciating plants and bugs only with their eyes and not with their hands.

Digging in the dirt – For a small child, a small hole in the back yard is a portal to an amazing journey where imagination and science intertwine. Pick out a spot where your child can use a kid-appropriate shovel and bucket to find worms, bugs, rocks, plant roots, and more. To enhance the experience, plant some plastic dinosaurs to recreate a paleontological dig!

Exploring with your ears – Encourage your child to sit quietly on a bench. After a few minutes, your little one will easily pick up bird songs and the sound of wind blowing through the trees. The child can pretend to be a creature silently hiding.  This will engage their imagination while experiencing the simplistic beauty of the natural world.  This activity definitely fosters the value of patience and reinforces the discipline of learning to sit quietly and listen attentively.

Nature scavenger hunt – This is a fun way for children to pay attention to their surroundings, as well as seasons of the year. While in the yard or on a short hike, children can pick-up leaves, seashells, and small rocks as a reminder of the places they explored. Each item can be linked to a story in pictures about the outdoor experience. (Please note public park rules in regards to collecting items.)

Let’s talk about it – Discuss the experience of being outdoors with your child. Parents can follow-up with questions and observations to determine the child’s favorite part of being outdoors and what they would like to do on their next adventure in nature.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools
Image by Extension

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