Nature within young children’s lives is an important part of growing up. There are many interesting and meaningful experiences children can take from nature. Depending on the time of year, each season brings a new type of exploration for a child. The parent/guardian or early years educator plays an important role in showing children the different areas of nature. For example, in spring the child may be shown what a bird makes their nest from and the areas birds come from. It may include exploring the types of birds e.g. swallow, cuckoo and their sounds. Nature is enables children to learn new skills within the outdoor environment and as a learning area. Nature activities and art are limitless and great for a child’s well-being. The environment can be used to it’s full potential in all area’s. Nature is an area that a child can explore forever. Nature changes with season’s. The tree’s change colour or lose their leaves. The list is endless. It is an important play resource and life skills for children of all ages. The photograph above was taken one day when I went for a walk. It got me thinking on the noise water makes in different impacts and the nature within the water and what I saw. Below will discuss and give various examples below including this in art and activities in relation to nature. I hope everyone enjoys;
Art and Activities
- In the area where the above photograph was taken I noticed small fish and eels living within the water. It made me think on the exploration for children. For example catching fish with nets and exploring creatures that live within the water such as the starfish lives in the ocean. The water then got me thinking on the noise of water. For example, a small stone makes a small noise whereas waves are noisy. This gives children the opportunity to explore impact and measuring.
- Exploring books on nature. For example, books based on birds or creatures within the great outdoor environment.
- A nature hunt. This may include a picture list of objects the child sees along the way. For example, a bird, butterfly, a flower, a specific tree or leaf, a ladybug etc.
- Creating a book based on nature at home, early years service or at school.
- Creating a tree using leaves from the outdoor environment. For example in autumn when the leaves are coloured.
- Exploring the different trees e.g. acorn comes from a oak tree.
- Animals that live within the trees. e.g. squirrel, birds.
- Exploring the different types of birds, their features country they come from and their call. e.g. the cuckoo comes to Ireland from South America.
- Making chimes for the outdoor garden. This may be done using recycled materials and cotton wool.
- Making their own bird feeder using plastic milk bottles or cartons and decorating them.
- Leaf threading. The child could collect a range of leaf’s from outdoor environment and using a stick and cotton wool thread them together.
- A activity including making their own birds nest using materials from the outdoor environment. This may include sticks, leaf’s, and whatever is available within the outdoor environment.
- Making bird’s nests using shreddies, chocolate, eggs, and little chicks.
- Bark rubbing using bark, paper and crayons. The children could explore using different coloured crayons and different tree types.
- Creating their own nature window using four lollypop sticks and white paper. The child can then stick flowers, leaves to their window.
- Feather writing using bird feathers that are outdoors with paint. This explores how people write many years ago.
- Playdough including items from nature e.g. flowers or sticks.
- The child collect items and then they are laminated and turned into hats, gloves(using child’s handprint) and wellies.
- Child paints and creates own vase and flowers collected when outdoors are put into the vase. This could include a discussion on flower types e.g. daffodils in spring and daisy grows in the grass.
- Turn pine cones into creatures using goggly eyes and cotton wool.
- Gardening sensory tubes with different elements of nature.
- Garden planting activity. This may include planting seeds into old wellies or pots and hanging around the garden.
- A fairy garden in the trees or flowers within the service or at home.
- A frog pond. exploring the different areas of when a frog grows.
- Painting using different aspects of nature. e.g. grass or pine cones.
“A child more than anyone else, is a spontaneous observer of nature”
“What important is that children have an opportunity to bond with the natural world, to learn to love it, before been asked to heal it’s wounds”.