Benefits of children in nature
With the rushing around of day to day life and the attraction of technology for leisure time, sometimes it makes it difficult to find time to take little ones into the natural world and reconnect with the essence of who we are. School holidays and weekends are ideal for getting to know our fauna and flora and learning what it’s like beyond books.
child care20 March 2019
Diverse studies show the importance that contact with nature has on children’s learning and cognitive and emotional development. Spending time relating to our surroundings provides well-being and environmental awareness, as well as improving their observation and exploration skills, creativity, self-discipline, social relationships, empathy and respect.
Planting seeds, ‘hunting’ insects, splashing around, smelling flowers, listening to the birds, watching the stars...All of this is possible with the freedom of getting dirty and enjoying spontaneous play. The beach, forest, countryside or mountain, are fantastic surroundings where you can connect to the natural world and enjoy it with the five senses.
Listening to the silence, the flow of water, the song of the different species of birds, the sound of nature itself (trees, plants, animals)... It is interesting to make them close their eyes and express their feelings in contrast with the usual sounds of their day to day life.
Smelling different plants and trying to differentiate them. It is recommendable to start with aromatic herbs that they are familiar with. A good activity to take advantage of the ‘excursion’ to nature and take a little bit of it home with us is to make air fresheners for wardrobes with these aromatic plants.
Enjoying the colours of nature and seeing how it changes in each of the seasons, observing how the animals and plants respond to their environment (for example, trees leaning towards the sun, the reaction of flowers to the sun or the rain, the location of animal nests). Another good activity is identifying geometric shapes in nature.
Trying edible plants, gathering wild fruit and telling them apart, looking for mushrooms and then cooking them at home..are all activities that help to boost taste and ‘savour’ our surroundings. All of this must always be supervised by an adult.
Touching leaves, tree bark, soil, stones, sand... Pause to feel the variety of textures they offer. With the sense of touch you can think of different crafts that can be done at home.