4 Ideas for a Nature Filled Day
Incorporating nature into our classrooms remains one of our greatest challenges, especially as our world becomes increasingly technology-focused. Not only are we absorbing less sunlight, plant life and the outdoors, our children are growing up in a society that normalizes this plight. This problem deserves more of our attention, as nature provides many benefits that contribute to our children’s healthy development. To name a few, nature reduces stress, positively impacts academic performance, and makes for a happier child overall. Nature based learning should be looked at as necessity, not a luxury!
To help our children grow up the way they should, here are four simple ways to add more nature into the classroom.
The classroom is a child’s second home for the better part of every academic year, so what they see, feel, and experience in the classroom is vital to their development and success.
The first thing you can do is uncover your windows and let that sunlight stream in! Don’t worry if you don’t have windows; there are plenty of other ways to bring nature physically into the classroom, including:
Hanging artworks of nature. Get creative and collect some pine cones, leaves, bark, flowers, and of course, potted plants, to place on the walls and shelves.
Using natural materials such as glass jars, metal tins, and wicker baskets instead of plastic.
Even the simple aspect of adding more colors such as green or orange can affect a child’s moods, as well as allowing them to get more comfortable with the idea of nature.
In short, don’t think small! Think outside the box!
Most people forget that flora and fauna are both aspects of nature. Children love animals, so why not bring in some wild creatures to engage their interest? From spiders and ants to caterpillars, animals are not only interesting, but also teach children the valuable lesson of valuing and caring for other living beings, including the importance of letting go of these creatures after the activity is done.
Field trips never get old, so why not utilize this to your advantage. Take your kids on a date with nature through activities as easy as laying on the grass and sketching what they see in the clouds. If you’re looking for an activity slightly more advanced, a cheap way to engage children is buying disposable cameras that allow them to take pictures of their own adventures with nature. Afterwards, have them write a story consisting of their adventures; the photos add a colorful visual.
Children aren’t meant stay cooped up all day! Make the outdoors a regular part of your day and classroom, and you will find yourself saving time that would be spent planning activities, gathering resources and keeping your children’ attention. Use leaves or pebbles to teach math, birds and animals to tell a story, dirt for science, and imagination for all other subjects. Limits do not exist!
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