Exploring Nature with Your Children

Exploring Nature with Your Children

There isn’t anything like breathing in the fresh outdoor air. Taking your child along with you allows you to see everything for the first time all over again. Whether your big outdoor adventure is at a local park, a hiking trail or even your own backyard, there are so many things to explore and learn about.

Dress appropriately for your walk, bring plenty of water, some snacks and always remember to tuck in some wipes. If you are headed to a woodsy area, make sure to take a quick peek online to find out what, if any, plants you would need to avoid (such as poison ivy) and what they look like. Then grab a plastic bag to help carry home any souvenirs you pick up along the way. If you add in a camera, you will be all set to create a memorable day.

Along your walk, do not hesitate to allow your child to stop and touch, smell and exclaim “LOOK” about every two minutes. This is what it is all about. You can play the following learning games:

  1. Pick up two rocks and help her figure out which is heavier.
  2. Explore texture by showing him examples of smooth and rough stones.
  3. Find one short twig and one long twig to talk about length with your child.
  4. Have you children gather 10 leaves and then teach them sorting by color and type.
  5. Take those same 10 leaves and create a pattern (small, medium, large, small, medium, etc.).

Find a nice quiet spot to sit for a short break. Open your snacks and just enjoy the world around you. If your child is old enough, play the “I Spy…” game. If you have young ones, just talk about what you see: how tall one tree is compared with another, describe the weather, and even make up stories about the people you see walking by. Sometimes, we can have a tendency to not talk very much to children too young to carry a conversation back with us. It is important to do the exact opposite, even if you feel a bit silly at first. Every time you speak, you are teaching your child.

As you take your time walking back, it is a good time to pull out the camera. What parts of nature did your children become most excited about? Now you will have time to photograph your child with some of the different items that you worked with, such as the leaf pattern you created. If you try to take pictures in the beginning, you lose that sense of first experience with your child because the camera takes you out of the scene. While you do want to record your special days, concentrate more on taking natural shots later in the day when everyone is calmer and more willing to sit still for a few moments.

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