Thursday, February 17, 2011

Connecting Kids with Nature...

I take my sons to a co-op style preschool and today we had a discussion about connecting kids with the great outdoors.  I picked up a few valuable insights that I thought I'd share with all of you...
  • They can grow artistically by enjoying the beauty around them and gleaning the details of how natural things look and feel
  • They can grow creatively and intellectually by having some time to be bored because they WILL invent things to do
  • They can grow emotionally by accomplishing physical tasks like climbing a big hill.  This produces real self-esteem because they know that even though it was hard, or it took a long time they did it; and it wasn't just mom or dad saying they did a good job for the millionth time. (Praising your kids is still important, but sometimes letting them just come to the understanding that they can  do _________ is more valuable)
  • They can grow physically, emotionally and maybe even socially (if they are with friends, siblings or you) by playing ball, riding bikes, climbing trees, digging in the dirt, hiking, swiming, climbing and just plain running around.  Letting your kids outside to move is so good because it not only challenges their bodies, but it helps their brains to release endorphins (chemicals that help us to feel good) as well.
  • They can grow intellectually by learning about plants, animals, different environments, counting, sorting, helping you plant and tend a garden, and so much more!
  • One mom in our class sends her boys out in their back yard on scavengar hunts regularly to find things like a seed, a small rock, a leaf, a feather, 3 pieces of trash, and a stick.  Depending on your area, you could have them find different things.  The sky's the limit!
Looking for shells on the beach, talking about the pictures we see in the clouds, hiking, hunting for bugs, climbing trees, and gardening are some things I enjoy doing with my own kids.  These are just a few ideas for how/what your kids can learn outside.  I'm sure you can think of more.  Feel free to post them in the comments section below.  I'd love to see what you have to say...

Live it up!

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