One person’s junk may be another person’s treasure, but when it comes to kids everything is treasure. Collecting “treasures” found when camping is a valuable kindergarten readiness activity. To start, kids practice paying attention to what they see and learn to search for their particular items. They check the characteristics of things they find to see if they would match their collection items or not. Sometimes, kids have to make choices among objects because they can not collect it all. Vocabulary, explaining, organizing, displaying, counting, categorizing, grouping, etc are just some of the readiness for kindergarten skills that kids develop.
Kids may collect rocks, shells, driftwood, sticks, wrappers, shiny foil and practically anything you can think of. When it comes to storing their collections a shoe box is an ideal container because it lets air circulate or an egg carton is easy for displaying treasure. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she’d tracked down the terrible smell in the car to some shells that the kids had found and put in a plastic bag and then into the trunk. The heat in the trunk had made it even worse! Collections can also threaten to use up all the extra space. Parents may have to “guide” the collecting. While collections can create some problems, that’s another kindergarten readiness skill, too–problem solving. What do your kids collect? What do the adults collect?
Camping and kids definitely go together, and science, too. If you’ll pardon the pun, science is a natural when camping. There are so many things to explore and discover, so much to see and wonder about. Kindergarten readiness means helping kids develop an eagerness for questioning and learning.
Whether you are in camping out in nature or at home in a city all you will need for some science fun is a patch of nature. Check it out with your child. What do you see? Are some things alive? Are there things that move or just stay still? There will be things that belong to the plant group and maybe some things that go in animals. What kind of colors and shapes are there? In this patch, what things are growing? What is there to see around the area?
Observing is a readiness for kindergarten skill. Some others are making groups, categorizing, listening, expanding vocabulary and more. By attaching learning on to kids’ enthusiasm and natural curiosity we make it fun and meaningful and promote a deep connection to the natural world. What kind of learning do you see?
Thomas Berry, in his book The Dream of the Earth, said “Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.” At the World Forum in Early Care and Education that I was able to attend at the beginning of the month, helping children feel connected to nature was one of the major themes. Being the start of the weekend (and a long weekend in Canada) it’s a great time to do just that, connect to nature.
Since the focus of recent blogs has been about using water play for learning and kindergarten readiness, that’s an idea for the weekend. Even puddles of water can be a threat to kids and increase the need for careful and responsible supervision. With that in place, there’s lots of opportunities for fun and learning. Some regions may be warm enough to explore the water at the beach. A lake or pond is a great place for some discovery time. Streams and creeks are another alternative for nature adventures.
It is vitally important that our children develop a healthy connection to nature. The present may be readiness for kindergarten; the future is critical decisions that affect our natural world.
What ways can you encourage your child to connect to nature this weekend?
Last week, I was able to attend the World Forum in Early Care and Education with over 800 delegates from 73 countries around the world. One of this year’s themes was helping children establish and maintain their connection to nature. Many of the presenters spoke of the the ongoing challenge and others highlighted successful programs … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Sandbox & Kids Nature Connection
On Earth Day we celebrate our connection to nature. At Easter we celebrate new life and new beginnings. Both these occur in the spring, and this year they are happening the same weekend. The message to spend some time in nature with our children is coming from several directions at once. And yes, connecting to nature helps children with kindergarten … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Earth Day for Kids
Weekends, at this time of year, often include some yardwork. While little ones aren’t really much help, when they are included, there are some great learning opportunities. Before raking leaves, let your little ones see that trees lose their leaves at this time of year and that leaves are different colors, sizes and shapes. The playing in … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Rake Up A Jack-o-lantern
The start of school feels like the end of summer, but today is the official first day of fall. Going for a walk around your neighborhood to see autumn changes is a simple, yet special, activity. We all too often forget to include time in nature on our t0-do list. Have any of you read … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – First Day of Fall
Why was the apple tree sad? Because it was always getting picked on! It was always getting picked on because apples are so good. Ask your child what are all the things that we can do with apples? Jot these ideas down on a list. Other members of the family may have more ideas to add … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Picking Apples