For a lot of parents, helping their child feel a stronger connection to the natural world is something that’s considered very important. It’s not hard to see why. As we all try to do more to protect the planet, it can only help to ensure our children understand the planet on which we’re all dependent.
Although, it is not all about the greater good. There are plenty of other reasons to help your child connect with nature, especially when they are preschool age. This is when they really develop their personalities and interests. Helping them understand and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the natural world can be very rewarding for them.
Here at Kids On The Move, we’re proud to offer children the chance to connect with nature through our Outdoor Nature Preschool program. If you are thinking of enrolling your child and want to find out more about what you can do to help your preschool-age child to connect with nature, you’re in the right place.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
First of all, you should try your best to lead by example and really show your kids why nature is fun and exciting. When they see you engaging with nature and taking an interest in these things, they will be more likely to do the same. Try to lead by example and show them why you love nature and the natural world, and they will follow in your footsteps. Young children really look up to their parents and they learn a lot from the habits and routines you have in place already.
PLAY GAMES OUTDOORS
These days, it’s all too easy to sit in front of screens with your kids and to find entertainment that way, but that’s not going to help them develop a love of nature. At least, that alone won’t help them fall in love with nature the way you might want them to. Instead, you need to get outdoors and really engage with nature through play and activity. When you’re able to find ways of having fun outdoors, no matter the time of year, they will begin to enjoy it and want to spend more time outside.
BUILD DAYS OUT AROUND VISITS TO NATURAL SPACES
Days out as a family offer you the chance to explore different places and let your child explore different types of nature and landscapes that they might never have experienced before. You could travel to a national park or another place of incredible natural beauty. These kinds of activities are rewarding and can encourage a sense of adventure in your child.
ENCOURAGE UNSTRUCTURED PLAY OUTDOORS
In order to discover and learn, children need to play in a more open and unstructured way. You don’t necessarily need to guide their every move or have things planned out comprehensively when you spend time outdoors as a family. In many instances, it’s far better for them if they have the opportunity to play in a more unstructured way. Encouraging that kind of play will help them discover things by themselves and have fun in a looser and more child-like way.
TEACH ABOUT NATURE AT HOME
As well as exploring nature together and spending time outdoors, it is a good idea to talk about nature and learn about it at home. There are lots of activities you can do and games you can play. There are also books you can read that will help your child gain a better understanding of everything from trees, to different types of landscapes to animals and the ocean. You’ll find that lots of children’s books and games are already structured around these topics.
ESTABLISH OUTDOOR ROUTINES
Establish routines with your child that involve spending time outdoors and getting active on a regular basis. When you have these routines in place, they will enable you to make spending time outdoors normal for your child. It could be something as simple as creating a routine of going for a walk outdoors each evening after dinner.
WATCH WILDLIFE AND NATURE DOCUMENTARIES TOGETHER
Another great way to help your child develop a love of the natural world is to watch a wildlife or nature documentary. These types of documentaries can be very captivating for younger children to watch, so there should be no trouble keeping them focused on what they’re watching. You can find some on your favorite streaming service.
STOP AND NOTICE THE SMALL THINGS
When you are out and about with your child outdoors, take the time to stop and notice small details, whether it’s the leaves on the ground or the types of trees you are passing. These small things will help your child notice examples of the natural world all around them, and to develop an interest in them. It’s easy to go through life without noticing these things and we may take them for granted sometimes. We want to encourage our children to develop a positive mindset about the little things in nature.
PLANT A TREE TOGETHER
If you have a backyard and you have the space, plant a tree with your child! It’s a great activity to do when they’re young because it’s a hands-on activity and they can watch that tree grow as they grow up. It’s a perfect way to create a connection between the natural world and your child. It’s also an activity that they’ll remember every time they look out the window to see how the tree is doing and how much it’s grown.
MAKE THE BACKYARD MORE ACCOMMODATING TO WILDLIFE
Making the backyard more accommodating to wildlife is an easy way to help your child interact with wildlife on a more regular basis. When you create a space that attracts birds and bugs and creatures of all kinds, your child will be able to spot those things and create a connection between what they’re learning about in the books you read together and their real-world experience.
BUY THEM BOOKS THAT HELP THEM APPRECIATE NATURE
As children start to get a little older, it is incredibly beneficial to encourage them to read books that contain facts about and discuss animals, bugs, and other species. As they start to read in a more independent way, they may find more interest in certain aspects of nature. Thankfully, there is no shortage of these kinds of books out there for them to enjoy and learn from.
TAKE A FAMILY CAMPING TRIP
Camping is another good way to help your kids connect with nature and do things that they might not have the chance to do at home. Camping enables them to get a real feel for what’s like to connect to nature and spend a prolonged period of time outside. They might thrive in that environment and enjoy making memories. You won’t know for sure until you actually try it out.
FIND THE RIGHT PRESCHOOL PROGRAM
Of course, finding the right preschool for your child is very important. One thing you should pay attention to when making that decision is how much the preschool allows your child to spend time outside and interact with nature. If they don’t offer those kinds of opportunities, you might want to look elsewhere. Here at Kids On The Move, we offer outdoor nature preschool programs that are ideal for kids and parents who really value the importance of nature and outdoor play. If that’s relevant to your family, get in touch with us today.
As you can see, there are lots of great ways to help your child connect with nature, and there are so many benefits that come with doing so. When you start them early, you will foster a love of nature that they will carry with them long into adulthood. If you want to make the most of our outdoor nature preschool program here at Kids On The Move, don’t hesitate to contact us.