#3 Go Wild for Nature Picnics

Today’s post is about go wild for nature picnics. What a wonderful way for both kids and adults to pause, look around, and nourish the senses and the body. The sun was urging us to come out and play so we packed a lunch and went outside.

connecting to nature picnicChildren’s pace to do things is different from adults; kids seem to have the two ends,  super fast and dawdle but not medium.  Our agendas can be quite different, even doing the same activity. The kids reminded me of this on our picnic.

Once we had spread out the towels and served the food onto plates, I expected them to have a few bites and rush off. Instead, they did have two or three but paused to simply look and listen. They checked the sky to see the few wispy clouds. After another couple of bites, took a break again to listen to the birds. Then, the distraction was the breeze. Just half a sandwich seemed to take so much time.

The whole intention was connecting to nature and I was the one anxious to finish lunch. I let go of my expectations and settled down to enjoy the sound, sight, and feel of nature as well as the meal.

After our lunch, it was almost as if we had two helpings of dessert. We stretched out in the sun on the big towel. After a few minutes, the kids moved over to look for rocks with unusual markings  like a line all the way around, a different color, or a pattern. This is a sign of fairies.

The lesson to the adult from the children is that nature is not a separate activity, rather,  it is part of the whole. For them, nature was another ingredient in the sandwich. Nor are we separated from nature.

Our picnic lunch had much food for thought. Can you and your child have some go wild for nature picnics?

P.S. You are invited to post pictures of picnics on 123’s Facebook page.

Summer Fun, Learning, and Kindergarten Readiness is a Picnic

During the summer, a picnic can combine fun, learning, family meals, outside time in nature, and some kindergarten readiness. That’s quite a menu and it’s a “picnic” to do.

picnic for summer fun and learningMuch of the learning is so ordinary that we don’t even notice it. For example, when discussing what to eat, often a parent will ask a child a question such as “Do you want a cheese sandwich or some cheese and crackers?” In order to choose and answer, the child needs to make a decision. We don’t realize how the brain has to remember past experiences, compare them, and check current conditions. Making decisions is a complex thinking skill and requires lots of practice. That’s much learning in just a few words.

Or maybe a parent will ask “Do you want some watermelon in the red bowl or the yellow one?” This time, the child has to be able to match the color to the name. Considering the endless variations of each color, and the number of different objects that may be the same color, a lot of brain wiring has has to happen to figure out colors. Again, to do this kids need experiences and practice.

picnics for summer fun and learningAs kids picnic outside, their senses are stimulated by the sounds, sights, smell, taste, and touch of nature. Fingers play in the sand and grass and pick up sticks and pine cones. Two rocks tapped together make a much louder sound than the birds. The foods smell and taste extra special outdoors. And there’s always so much to see.

Moving and being active is just as important for brains as for bodies. Somehow on a picnic, the up and down and all around of young children is easier to handle than it is at home. Often, there is more interaction and talking with each other on a picnic. This supports social and emotional skills. Just in the body language, this little one is communicating.

Did you know that all this fun, learning, kindergarten readiness and life skills are also on the picnic menu? Can a breakfast, lunch or supper picnic be part of the day for your family?