When you’re planning on activities for your kids, or trying to figure out curriculum, and learning opportunities, I can’t say enough about Nature Schooling. Here’s the hard truth: the overwhelming majority of us don’t spend enough time outside. And it’s pretty easy to see why – the weather isn’t always ideal, multitasking can sometimes feel a whole lot easier when we’re inside the house, it often feels safer, everything’s in reach – the bathroom, snacks etc., we don’t have to spend time getting dressed in our more presentable “outside clothes” free of stains and wrinkles, and then there’s the TV. I 100% get it; but what I can’t deny is that there’s something incredibly energizing about being outside and breathing in the fresh air; and for our kids – that draw is even more powerful and the effects even more exhilarating. Because of this, I try to spend as much time as we can outside.
Pretty much every subject you can think of, can be taught outside with nature as an example. Gardening and examining bugs and other animals creates a wonderful opportunity to learn about science, ecosystems, geography, and biology. History can be discussed, as well as social studies. Incorporate a nature journal and nature themed books and language arts open a world of so much possibility. With really little ones, there are so many sensory opportunities, just picking up objects and tinkering, learning the names of things, identifying the shapes and colors, I could go on. Nature provides an extraordinary classroom.
On this day, we hung out in the bath yard with some sticks we had gathered at a nearby park the day before. For around 2 hours we used nothing but these sticks to entertain ourselves. We arranged them in size order, used them in simple math (counting, adding, subtraction), we used them to make basic shapes, then to form letters of the alphabet. Then the girls made their own art creations. All of this with a pile of sticks we gathered at a park.
Education doesn’t have to mean sitting at a computer for hours at a time, or even sitting at a desk with a workbook ( although I see value in both of those things), nature provides so many learning opportunities for kids; and as a parent learning right along side with them, I also feel myself becoming more connected to nature and that wild, free, curious, and energized spirit of my inner child that I had long forgotten.