I am running a short series on getting started with nature study, here on the blog. We have already covered the first two topics:
Today I shall be sharing ideas on getting out of doors with all ages.
My aim in writing Exploring Nature With Children is to get families out of doors, enjoying nature study together. Children (and grown-ups!) of all ages benefit from being outdoors Here are some ideas that you may find useful:
• Go on nature walks together
Adapt the location and length of walk to suit your children’s ages. Half an hour to walk and talk about what you see in your own garden will benefit your family more than a day in the woods with a tiny tot, and mum having to carry along lots of nappies, changes of clothes, etc. There is no need to devote a whole day to nature study (unless of course, you want to!)
An easy solution for mothers of little ones, is to spread out a picnic blanket on the garden lawn, and sit there whilst the children have fun in the garden, seeing what nature treasures they can find. This makes life much easier in the sense that none of the usual baby paraphernalia needs to be carried around on a woodland walk; snacks, nappies, (diapers) changes of clothing, plus nature guides and journals can be kept right there on the blanket. Tired babies and children can nap when needed, and nature study time can be as short or long as desired.
• With younger children, you can keep the discussion light and away from too many scientific facts. Ask them a question to give them something to ponder and to think about.
• With older children, engage them in discussion about the main focus of that week’s nature study. Charlotte Mason saw ideas as food for the mind.Keep your eyes open to spot the focus of your study throughout the week, but allow your child the space to make their own connections.
•Bigger kids can help littler kids 🙂
•If your child asks a question you cannot answer, do not be afraid to say ‘I don’t know – let’s find out together.’
•Give them books to read for further study on the topic.
I hope this post gives you some ideas! I shall be hosting a weekly ‘Explore-along’ on my Facebook page, to share our nature studies from Exploring Nature With Children. Each week I shall post what we got up to for that week’s lesson and I invite you to share your own family’s studies.
We shall begin on Monday 7th of September with the first week’s activity from Exploring Nature With Children: Seeds