Outdoors and In the Garden "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." -William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Children learn so much through their environment. The natural environment is a great teacher. Children are able to take in many different sensorial experiences simply by being outside. It is important that children spend some time outside every day. You may discuss the weather with your child and what appropriate clothing looks like for different kinds of weather. It is wonderful for the children to experience the beauty of nature in all the seasons. There is a great opportunity for activity and vocabulary enrichment.
In our backyard we recently added chickens. Our children love checking for eggs each morning and insist that these eggs taste so much better than store bought eggs. Agnes, one of our hens, has visited our children's school. The children loved being able to pet a chicken and find out the answers to all of their questions about chickens from my husband, recently named "the chicken guy." The visit provided an opportunity for the children to observe and experience contact with a living creature that produces part of our food.
Whatever your outdoor environment, include your children in activities in it. Whether it is a window box garden, farm, or growing seeds in a cup, it is important the your child have direct contact with nature. Click here for a link to my list of ten great plants.
At school, we frequently lead the children on "nature walks." These are simple little strolls around the neighborhood noticing nature. Things to have your child notice in the environment: textures, smells, sounds and perhaps tastes. Allow your child to explore.
Make sure the area is safe. Check for sharp objects, equipment in good condition, and that chemicals and hazardous materials are locked away. If you have a wading pool it should be emptied when not in use.
Outdoor Activities: planting a seed or bulb, watering plants, weeding the garden, harvesting.