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Connecting children with nature through outdoor learning

Connecting children with nature through outdoor learning

 

Connecting with nature is so important for children. Not only does it provide them with countless opportunities for discovery, but it also helps their creativity, problem-solving and confidence.

Children can be inspired by the world around them and become interested in things they haven’t seen before. Meanwhile, offering outdoor learning boost children’s motivation, improves their physical skills and social skills.

In this blog post, we have put together some activities to help children connect with nature through outdoor learning.

When children explore and interact with the natural world, they develop self-confidence and critical thinking skills. They learn how to solve problems without relying on adults for answers. They become more empathetic towards others and more comfortable with themselves.

 

outdoor learning

Nature activities for kids

Play in the mud

Mud is a fantastic activity for children as it helps them be around nature. Mud helps children develop cognitive skills, such as problem-solving, planning and decision-making. It also helps them to become more aware of their surroundings. When children play in the mud, they can use their five senses to explore the world around them.

Children can see, smell, touch, and hear what is happening around them when playing in the mud. Children will also learn about different textures using their hands, such as sand or clay, which can develop fine motor skills, helping with writing later in life.

Mud also allows children to engage in creative play, which helps them learn how to express themselves through art. Playing in the mud enables children to use their imaginations while exploring new ideas through different activities such as building structures out of mud or making sculptures out of wet clay which dry out into hardened forms once they have been left outside overnight.

Encourage children to play in the mud by showing them how solids and liquids mix; by doing this, you are bringing a scientific approach to help them understand what happens when you add water to dirt.

Mud play allows children to use their imagination as they pour and measure ingredients. In addition, squishing and padding mud helps develop learning skills with sensory play as it allows kids to get used to the natural environment and play outdoors.

You could even get children to create their own outdoor mud kitchen, where they stir, cook, and wash up with mud. This will encourage them to talk about what they are doing and create excitement in their play.

 

 

Create nature trails

Nature trails are a fantastic way to get kids outside and engaged in their surroundings. All you need is a spot that is local to you with plenty of natural interest. It could be a stream, pond, or even the local woods!

Encourage children to notice what they see by asking them questions like: What kind of trees are these? How tall are they? What do you think they eat? Where do you think this plant grows from?

You can also use your nature trail as an opportunity to teach kids about how plants and animals adapt to their environment, as well as how to identify different types of birds and insects.

 

 

Building a den

Did you know going outside and building a den helps children develop a sense of self-awareness, engage in role-playing, and explore their imaginations? Children naturally tend to gravitate toward things that help them feel safe and secure. A den is where children can retreat from the outside world, creating an environment that makes them feel safe, secure, and grounded.

Den-building is a fantastic activity that will help children build self-awareness which is important for their development. Den-building also gives them space to practice teamwork and problem-solving skills that will serve them well throughout life.

Let children’s imagination run wild by getting them to build a den outside the classroom by collecting natural materials like branches and sticks. This will help them connect with nature more as they will seek a sense of adventure.

 

 

Make nature wands or nature brushes

Get children outside and connect with nature by creating nature wands. Nature wands are a great way for kids to connect with nature and have fun whilst learning. You can start by showing children how to use a whittle peeler to whittle sticks and discover what is underneath them. Then use string, leaves and feathers to attach to the stick. You could even get them to create a colourful leaf stick by skewering a variety of leaves in different colours and sizes or even create artistic patterns using colouring pens.

This is a fun and interactive activity for kids to do outside the classroom, requiring them to explore their surroundings. Through exploration, they will develop an appreciation for the environment and gain new skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking.

 

In conclusion, outdoor play is fun and helps a child develop important cognitive and social skills. Being outside in nature can foster a sense of wonder, reinforce the importance of protecting the environment, instill a healthy lifestyle, and even boost children’s grades and performance in school.

For more inspiration, read our previous blog on ‘Teaching Science Outdoors: 21 Project, Activities and Experiment

<a href="https://blog.hope-education.co.uk/author/hasibur-rahman/" target="_self">Hasibur Rahman</a>

Hasibur Rahman

Hope Education writer

29 July 2022

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