Too many children are uncomfortable in nature. Whether you want to blame television, abundant extracurriculars at younger ages, or the fear of stranger danger, less kids are getting outside and exploring. The saddest part is that many of the lessons young kids are most apt to absorb are best taught outdoors and not in a classroom. Working natural and seasonal themes into your week provides a solid basis in beginning science and helps a child understand their place in the world.
Plan Seasonal Activities
Teach the seasons, weather, and the wheel of the calender year by adding natural elements to your learning space. Don't turn on the news or use newspaper with young children to teach about the weather, instead take them outside to experience it. Construct simple rain gauges or wind vanes. Collect spring flowers for pressing or fall leaves for rubbing. Summer is more than just knowing June, July and August. Getting the children outside helps them understand the season intuitively.
Set Up a Nature Table
Work a nature walk into your school day, or at least plan one for once a week. Give the children time to explore. A slow meandering walk with no apparent purpose is better for young children than a quick walk to a specific location. Encourage the kids to bring back one item to display on the class or family nature table. This table evolves through the seasons with the items the children bring back from their walks, further reinforcing the concepts of time and the year. Some items, such as an old cocoon, also are suitable for a brief science lesson.