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 readiness.
In his book, Last Child In The Woods, Richard Louv explains how nature helps children learn: “…by demanding visualization and full use of senses.” Because we take in information about the world through our senses, it is understandable that making good use of our senses is also important for learning. Bet you can predict what the readiness for kindergarten activity suggestion will be: some nature time using the senses.
In a park, natural area, or even just around the block, ask your child what s/he feels. Is the sun warm, today? Do you feel any wind? What kinds of things are your eyes seeing? Are there clouds in the sky? If possible, you and your child can look for shapes and colors. At an appropriate time, you may be able to ask your child to cover his/her eyes for a minute and just listen to all the sounds. Any birds? In a park, there might be the smell of new grass and warm earth. Where we live, we really can smell when it’s going to rain. The wind comes from the direction of the mill and we can smell it in the air. Tasting may have to wait for an ice cream or bakery treat on the way home.
Exploring and discovering while playing in nature encourage creativity, problem-solving and awareness of the natural world. How are you and your child celebrating Earth Day?