Learning Nature at its best!
Autumn is a wonderful time of the year to really use nature to promote the development of children. As the leaves change colors and how they fall from the trees, are all very intriguing. Leaves have so many incredible benefits from mathematics and sensory to understanding the world and even literacy. Instead of hiding inside from the cold and windy weather, young children should be outdoors exploring nature with adults more than ever, talking about the changes and the colors happening right before their eyes. Adults should be following their child’s lead. The outside during autumn seems to hold a new level of interest for children as they kick leaves, notice new natural objects such as pinecones and acorns, and become more in tune with the outdoors.
This may be the first spark of interest in children discovering more about the world around them. They may notice spiders and their unique cobwebs, and squirrels digging and hiding nuts for the Winter, rabbits hopping around searching for food, and flocks of birds flying overhead. Life makes teaching and learning incredibly easy around this time of year as there is so much to discuss and do. Nature is like an open-ended book, allowing your child to turn the pages by exploring the never-ending story. You don’t need fancy expensive tools to explore, it can be a simple as a brown paper bag, an old pickle jar, a stick, and a magnifying glass from the dollar store.
You can also take out paper and crayons, paint, and chalk for any creative artwork. Get dirty and make mud pies by playing with nature’s playdough (dirt & water). Note: Don’t worry it all washes off. The ground is usually softer in Autumn so digging for worms is a much easier task. Try taking out old bowls, boxes or pans and make Mother Nature a mud birthday cake; covered with bird seeds and don’t forget the candles (twigs). Place it in an open space near a window so you and your child can watch the animals take part of the celebration.
You can also plan a family trip to the nearest Apple Orchard. The hayrides are the best and exploring ducks in the pond, milking a cow, and feeding the lambs can be an exciting experience they will never forget. Picking apples from a tree and picking pumpkins to take home can give a child so much joy. Drinking
apple cider and a fresh donut on a wooden bench just tops off the experience. Go explore nature with your child and see all that there is to learn. Remember it’s an open book so don’t be surprised when even you too, may learn something new!
Assistant Education Manager