BRINGING KIDS CLOSE TO NATURE

BRINGING KIDS CLOSE TO NATURE

Memories last longer than one season. Adults who fondly remember a childhood spent in a garden often recall a parent, grandparent or neighbor who guided and encouraged them to explore the natural world. In his book, “The Nature Principle,” Richard Louv emphasizes the significance of bringing children to nature. He worries that our culture has become more connected to technology than nature. Kids, he says, develop self-confidence, awareness, empathy and responsibility when given regular opportunities to be in nature. Concrete playgrounds and organized sports on manicured playing fields are not enough. Children need to be in a natural environment, whether led or on their own, in order to learn, discover and grasp the awesomeness of the natural world.

 Coloring round stone and numbering them:

Coloring round stone and numbering them

Take kids riverbanks or small streams where you can find pebbles. Ask kids to pick almost round shape pebbles. Bring home wash and ask them to paint them using friendly paints. Painting can be ladybugs, turtles, beetles, butterflies etc. This will help kids to learn about painting of nature, insects and other animals.

In the garden:

In the garden

Select round 3-4 inches stones and have kids paint the vegetables and name them. This will teach kids name of vegetables, importance of fresh vegetables, fruits and they also get familiar with green products. In case, kids dislike any vegetables this will help them to look at vegetables and fruits in different ways. Ask kids to identify and place the painted stones as marks near respective vegetable plants.

Pizza garden:

Pizza garden

Most kids love pizza and they love various toppings too. Gather your kids and their friends for pizza garden fun.  Make pizza shape using stones. Divide the circle in to 4 or 6 parts. Kids can select the vegetables and herbs that they want to grow like tomato, radish, carrots, eggplant, broccoli, onion, thyme, cilantro etc.  In each part plant both vegetables and herbs. On the outer edge of pizza garden one can plant marigold plants. Ask kids to water the plants regularly. When vegetables are grown, make pizza at home using these vegetables as toppings. Kids definitely will love to eat this pizza made by them.

 Fun with fruits, flowers and leaves:

Fun with fruits, flowers and leaves

1) If kids does not like math make it fun for them. Take them to garden and have them pluck tomato or any other vegetables. Have them group from 1 vegetable to 10 as shown in the image.

2) Ask kids to identify the various colors of fruits and vegetables

3) Ask them to collect various types of leaves and they can write their names or pet names on the leaves using a marker

4) On the grass have them make beautiful designs using leaves and flowers

5) On a white paper or plastic sheet, let them paste the varieties of leaves.

All these activities help the young mind to grow, think and identify various objects in nature.

 Drawings :

Drawings

Everyday kids will see one or other animals. This may be a rabbit, duck, geese, sparrow. To develop love and affection towards animals ask kids to draw picture of those animals that they have observed. To make it easy tell them to take help of the numbers and alphabets while drawing animal or flower pictures. This will help them to grow their love for animals as well as improve their art skills.

Paper pin wheels for garden:

Paper pin wheels for garden

Tell kids to color the papers using various combinations of colors or use color papers. Follow the steps as described in http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Pinwheel. Attach sticks at the back and place them in the garden. When the wind blows paper wheels will rotate like fan wings. This activity helps kids imagine and to be creative. Their curiosity towards science increases.

 Scavenger hunt :

Scavenger hunt

The great outdoors offers plenty of space to run around, but can also be the setting for a scavenger hunt or a nature walk with the family and friends. Get ready with sheets marked with scavenger hunting items like leaves, fruit, caterpillar, bug, birds, flower bud, feather,  rain, water, pond, fish, frog etc. Ask kids to check mark on the sheet as they noticing and identifying the items. Encourage them to identify each item. Have picnic with them in the garden after the game.

 References and image courtesy:

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