With Earth Day celebrations and events tomorrow, it seems natural to talk about how nature can influence children’s development and kindergarten readiness. Recent studies are finding more and more benefits to spending time outdoors such as improving health and fitness, increasing the length of attention span, promoting problem-solving and observational skills, encouraging creativity, reducing anxiety, and enhancing emotional/social connections.
Spending time in nature is a learning activity. In a way, nature is also a learning strategy because it guides children to be aware of their senses. Sensory experiences depend on awareness. As I watched this wee one sitting in the grass, I could almost see all the brain connections she was making. Her fingers gently touched the grass and she cupped her hand trying to catch it. She intently watched as the grass bent over. It was easy to see how content and relaxed she was and how she was giving it her full attention.
Your community may have lots of activities for families. All week there have been great suggestions for Earth Day crafts. But one of the most important things to do is to spend time experiencing what the Earth has to offer.
How will your family participate in Earth Day?
Earth Hour tonight will be long after bedtime for many little kids so their lights will already be turned out. But there are other ways to participate and promote kindergarten readiness, too.
During the day, taking a walk in the park or around the neighborhood is one way to celebrate the earth. What’s the weather like? Is there any wind? What kinds of plants and animals do you and your child see? Expanding children’s general knowledge and experiences gives them a basic foundation to build on.
See if you and your child can collect a few different rocks, for those past the everything in the mouth stage. Check out their shapes, use them for counting and making groups.
Is there a plant-a-tree project in your community this weekend? You and your child may be able to use the city bus or other public transportation instead of the car.
These are just a few suggestions for things to do that will help your child establish a life long connection to nature. What are some other ideas?
And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street has a great idea for today: going for a walk and seeing what’s on your street.
When it comes to readiness for kindergarten there isn’t really a specific set of information that is helpful for kids to know. What’s important is that kids have practice learning about what’s all around them, playing and interacting with others and their surroundings. A walk in the neighborhood is a perfect way to have fun and learn at the same time. These pictures are from a walk with 2 & 3 year olds on our “Mulberry Street.” There was lots to see and talk about. We heard different sounds too and shared with everyone else when we got home.
Our walk was so much fun and a highlight of the day. There was no curriculum but there was lots of learning. What’s on your “Mulberry Street?”
One of the news items circulating recently on the Internet talks about the discovery of Ghost Octopus and Yeti Crabs in the Antarctic. The scientists were “thrilled”, “amazed”, and “absolutely stunned.” These comments reminded me what it’s like for kids when they discover something. But they don’t need to go all the way to the … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Explore and Discover→
On the first day of winter…there is bound to be some wonderful gifts from nature. One of the best gifts we can give our kids is a connection to the natural world. This isn’t easy to do in cities. In his book “Last Child in the Woods” Richard Louv writes that our children are at … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Gift of Nature→
Q. What did the pumpkin need for his boo-boo? Q. A pumpkin patch. For most families Saturdays have a different feel than the other days of the week. They often have time to squeeze in a special event or activity. Given the season, what could be more fun than visiting a pumpkin patch? Children are … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkin Patch→
I love turning over the calendar from September to October. The pictures nearly always show brightly colored fall leaves and pumpkins. This weekend I am going to carve out the time to go for a walk and enjoy the seasonal changes. While I may not see pumpkins I’m sure I’ll see some signs of fall. … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkin Season→
Did you know that more than 80% of families now live in urban areas? Ensuring that our children develop a connection to nature is more important than ever. Whether it’s a city park or wilderness area there are many things to explore and discover and much to see and wonder about. Kids and green go … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Have a Backpack Adventure→
Pirates aren’t the only ones that look for treasure. And there is treasure in the natural world. Many psychologists are finding that kids and adults need time outdoors. Camping is an ideal time to encourage this bond with nature. More than just readiness for kindergarten, this will be part of your child’s future. One way to reinforce the … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Camping Scavenger Hunt→