Series Part #10: Kids Going to Kindergarten Need a Nature Connection
When it comes to ways to help children get ready to go to kindergarten, you may be thinking about letters and numbers, but how about time in nature? This quote from the Center for Families, Communities, Schools and Children’s Learning explains why: “Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when the learning is fun. And the best place for these experiences is outdoors, in the natural world.”
In urban areas, nature sometimes seems far away, but nature can be tucked into pockets. Children can discover nature anywhere; they do not have to be in a park or wilderness area. Is there some nature near the bus stop? Maybe some one’s yard has some rocks of different shapes and colors or there may be flowers and trees in the neighborhood. What are the clouds doing? Any birds in the sky? Look up and down and all around. In the sky, in the middle and on the ground. Look, smell, listen, touch and even taste. There’s nature all around. Nature is a feast for the senses.
We don’t need to be naturalists to share some important basic nature knowledge with kids. Nature is a cycle and children can often connect with trees in the area to watch this cyclical change. A walk in your neighborhood can be a journey of discovery as children begin to notice that changes happen for each season. Children’s lives seem to have lots of changes and seeing that some things change but still stay the same gives them a feeling of security. Noticing changes in the natural world will help them cope with changes in their world, through their connection to nature.
Go RVing has some advice that helps for starting school: “Along with milk and vegetables, kids need a steady diet of rocks and worms. Rocks need skipping. Holes need digging. Water needs splashing. Bugs and frogs and slimy-stuff need finding.”
These activities and more are part of early learning, kindergarten readiness, and life. Spending time outside in nature opens up your child to not just kindergarten, but the whole word. What nature activities do you share with your child?