Nature Activities

Readiness for Kindergarten – Barking Up The Right Tree

No, this isn’t a blog about dogs. I’m still posting about fun and learning when camping. This bog combines science, art, and, of course, readiness for kindergarten. Camping usually involves a place where there’s trees. For another woodsy idea, try bark rubbing with your child. An adult is needed to hold the paper along with some wax crayons or charcoal. A left-over piece of wood from the campfire will also work–check that it’s cold!

Hold the paper against the bark of a tree and have your little one rub with the charcoal or crayon; peel the paper off the crayon and hold it on it’s side. Use another piece of paper and try a different tree. With your child, discover how some trees have smooth bark, like the birch bark that’s also used for making little canoes, and some have very rough bark like an oak. If possible, find a third tree and compare. Is it smooth or rough? Is it the same as one of the others or is at different from both of them? The bark rubbings should look different, too, and show the texture of the bark. Can you match the picture to it’s tree? Grownups can write the name on the paper.

This activity encourages kids to practice their observation skills as they check the bark on trees. They are also using their sense of touch as they explore the various textures of barks. There’s lots of language and new vocabulary as the kids talk about what they are discovering. Plus, they are developing a relationship with the natural world. This camping fun and learning is barking up the right, that is the kindergarten readiness, tree.

Readiness for Kindergarten – Camping Collections

One person’s junk may be another person’s treasure, but when it comes to kids everything is treasure. Collecting “treasures” found when camping is a valuable kindergarten readiness activity. To start, kids practice paying attention to what they see and learn to search for their particular items. They check the characteristics of things they find to see if they would match their collection items or not. Sometimes, kids have to make choices among objects because they can not collect it all. Vocabulary, explaining, organizing, displaying, counting, categorizing, grouping, etc are just some of the readiness for kindergarten skills that kids develop.

Kids may collect rocks, shells, driftwood, sticks, wrappers, shiny foil and practically anything you can think of. When it comes to storing their collections a shoe box is an ideal container because it lets air circulate or an egg carton is easy for displaying treasure. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she’d tracked down the terrible smell in the car to some shells that the kids had found and put in a plastic bag and then into the trunk. The heat in the trunk had made it even worse! Collections can also threaten to use up all the extra space. Parents may have to “guide” the collecting. While collections can create some problems, that’s another kindergarten readiness skill, too–problem solving. What do your kids collect? What do the adults collect?

Readiness for Kindergarten – Camping, Kids and Science

Camping and kids definitely go together, and science, too. If you’ll pardon the pun, science is a natural when camping. There are so many things to explore and discover, so much to see and wonder about. Kindergarten readiness means helping kids develop an eagerness for questioning and learning.

Whether you are  in camping out in nature or at home in a city all you will need for some science fun is a patch of nature. Check it out with your child. What do you see? Are some things alive? Are there things that move or just stay still? There will be things that belong to the plant group and maybe some things that go in animals. What kind of colors and shapes are there? In this patch, what things are growing? What is there to see around the area?

Observing is a readiness for kindergarten skill. Some others are making groups, categorizing, listening, expanding vocabulary and more. By attaching learning on to kids’ enthusiasm and natural curiosity we make it fun and meaningful and promote a deep connection to the natural world. What kind of learning do you see?

Readiness for Kindergarten – Water Play & Learn

Thomas Berry, in his book The Dream of the Earth, said “Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.” At the World Forum in Early Care and Education that I was able to attend at the beginning of the month, helping children feel connected to … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Water Play & Learn

Readiness for Kindergarten – Sandbox & Kids Nature Connection

Last week, I was able to attend the World Forum in Early Care and Education with over 800 delegates from 73 countries around the world. One of this year’s themes was helping children establish and maintain their connection to nature. Many of the presenters spoke of the the ongoing challenge and others highlighted successful programs … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Sandbox & Kids Nature Connection

Readiness for Kindergarten – Earth Day for Kids

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 … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Earth Day for Kids

Kindergarten Readiness – Rake Up A Jack-o-lantern

Weekends, at this time of year, often include some yardwork. While little ones aren’t really much help, when they are included,  there are some great learning opportunities. Before raking leaves, let your little ones see that trees lose their leaves at this time of year and that leaves are different colors, sizes and shapes. The playing in … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Rake Up A Jack-o-lantern