This morning, I was doing some research for my radio show on the topic of children and connections to nature and read that not just healthy physical development, but emotional and mental too are affected; kindergarten readiness would also then be impacted by children’s bond to nature.
(Learn and Play with Mrs. A is on the RockStar Radio Network, Mondays at noon Eastern time.)
To encourage fun and learning, the next 10 posts will each have one idea for encouraging nature play. Being a kindergarten teacher, the clue for each activity will rhyme with the number. Here’s the first:
ONE: as in fun, sun. Or sometimes rain. Just being outside helps children in many ways. Outside, they are not limited by space as they are inside and children can play actively, developing their large muscles and practicing regulating their energy levels. When it rains, the water mixed with dirt makes wonderful mud. Kids are attracted to mud, but it’s just dirt and doesn’t hurt. Instead, kids develop their sensory awareness as they make and squish mud. They notice the texture and the feel and how it changes when water is added. Nature is linked to what they create and what they imagine.
Mud play also helps little ones develop small muscles in their hands and adds new words to their vocabulary, like squish, slippery, sticky and more. Playing in the mud is a safe way to get rid of tensions and anxieties. Mud play is not limited to outside, although it’s definitely easier. Grownups sometimes play with mud inside. That mud is called clay and gets hands just as dirty. In some areas, there may some children’s pottery programs for more mud play.
For post number one’s learning and play in nature, can you and your child have some fun in the sun? Or the mud?