two girls enjoying nature
by Leslie Marley –

Learning Activities to Help Your Child Explore the Outdoors

Chasing fireflies on a warm night, blowing seedlings across the lawn, looking for worms after a heavy rain are a few exciting ways to explore nature. Go outside with your child to experience the outdoors together! Nature provides opportunities to foster a love for the outdoors, get some exercise, and learn!

Discuss Growth in Nature

As you are exploring the outside with your son or daughter, pick up leaves, find sticks, or gather flowers. As you pick up these treasures with your child, talk about the cycles of growth and how seedlings grow to be flowers and trees. Teaching the different growth cycles of a plant to children explains how life begins and ends in nature.

Learning activity: Once you have a little collection of your findings, bring your treasures home to do some research on where these plants grow and what they look like during the different stages of growth.

Watch the Birds

If you are in an area that is surrounded by trees, keep your eye out for their inhabitants. Look around for the birds and point them out to your child. Watch them as they fly in the sky or listen to them as they communicate with each other by chirping.

Learning activity: remember to take some binoculars before you leave the house for your bird walk. As you are out watching the birds, make it interactive! Encourage your child to not only look for birds but listen for their chirping. This allows them to use different senses to observe.

Search for Bugs

While you are out, get to know the bugs. Have your child turn over rocks to see what is hiding underneath them. Look on the ground to see what might be crawling through the grass. You never know what you will find!

Learning activity: After a heavy rain, walk out to your driveway or to the sidewalks to see the earthworms that have surfaced. It’s important for your child to touch and look to develop an understanding and appreciation of nature, so it’s okay if he or she gets a little messy! Ask your child open-ended questions like, “What does the bug look like?” If your child is older, he or she might even be able to identify some types of bugs while exploring.

kids watching solar eclipseStudy the Sun and Moon

Use the sun and moon to teach your child about the solar system! If you go out for your nature walk in the morning, discuss the sun and how it rises.

Learning activity: Reach different nature objects like leaves up to the sky in the sun to see how their shadows change. Or if you are sitting outside in the late evening, lay out a blanket to look at the moon. Ask your child questions like, “What does the moon look like to you? ”

Preserve the Beauty

As you discuss the different parts of nature, remember to teach your child how to preserve the beauty of the environment. Talk about how the environment should be cared for and the importance of nature to our well-being.

Learning activity: One simple way to help preserve the environment is to practice recycling at home! Gather up different recyclable materials and practice putting them into the recycling bin. You can even have your child decorate his or her own recycling bin and add pictures of items that belong in the recycling bin!

Share this wonderful excitement with your child and encourage him or her to develop an appreciation for other living things along the way. Learning about nature is fun, interactive, and enjoyable for the whole family.

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Leslie Marley

Leslie Marley

Leslie Marley is the Director of Education and Curriculum at U-GRO Learning Centres, a premier provider of early childhood and preschool education in Central Pennsylvania. Leslie has worked in the field of early childhood education for more than 20 years, 14 of them with U-GRO Learning Centres. She has served in a number of different capacities: including Teacher, Director, District Manager, and most recently, Director of Education and Curriculum. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction in ECE. She is passionate about guiding early educators to initiate best practices, supporting the success of each child, and positively serving and empowering children and families.
Leslie Marley

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