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 in the mission to bring nature and children together.
While parks and playgrounds are not untamed wilderness, they are outside and accessible for families and care centers. The sun, grass, dirt and water, from puddles to ponds, appeal to little ones. There is an increased need for supervision but kids benefit from time outside and learn in their own way. Developing a healthy connection to nature is more than just kindergarten readiness. Remember, today’s kids will be making critical decisions that affect our natural world before very long.
Weekends sometimes have more time than weekdays, so if you can, take your child outside to play in the sand, run in the grass, or splash in the puddles, knowing that you are also building readiness for kindergarten and the future. Talk about a sandbox! Doesn’t this extra big one in Prestwick, UK, look like huge fun?
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→