This has been a busy month, exploring lots of different ways that kids can play along with some basic early social and emotional skills. Next month will be even more hectic, so it’s important to fit in some outside time and reconnect with nature.
In the midst of hustle and bustle, natural areas outside can seem like another world. Children do not need huge areas of wild space. As a child, I remember one big evergreen tree in my best friend’s yard. We only had to lift up some of the bottom branches to have a little space near the trunk that became our special place. One tree, or just one branch may be enough to a child.
Kids do need time outside to play and nurture their sense of wonder. Where does the wind come from? Where do clouds go? What’s happened to the leaves on the trees? Why is it cooler outside? Recently, we were in Arizona and the weather was hot and sunny, but the temperature was much lower than it had been there during the summer! Outside, there is so much to explore and discover. Turning over a rock at this time of year can be quite different from other times. It places where it’s cold, it’s not leaves that are falling but snow. That is certainly a wonder land.
Earlier this month, several blogs were about the favorite play activities of adults, including an astronaut, singer, chef, artist, nurse, scientist, crafter, designer, gemologist, and mathematician. Even as very young children, how they played echoed in their grownup work. Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in The Woods and other books about the tremendous value of nature in the lives of children, says that he pleads “…guilty to romanticizing my childhood in the woods.” That comes as no surprise. His deep love and passion for nature undoubtedly grew from a connection that started in his childhood.
As long as the weather outside isn’t frightful, can you and your child spend some time playing in nature today?