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Springtime Adventures

 

As spring time unfolds and the weather warms we all want to get outside. If you are the parent of a preschooler , or any aged child, you can take the learning right outside in the yard or the park or anywhere you happen to be. Being observant is a skill that is important to develop in young children. You don’t need to be prepared with a lesson or an activity. Just go outside and see what you can see.

The younger your child is the closer to the ground you will be searching for something to observe. Start by talking about what you see, hear and smell. Find something to focus on and talk about what you see. Describe in detail what you are looking at and then ask your child to look for the same things . If you see a flower ready to bud, talk about the color and what is going to happen next. Ask them to find more, even if its right next to the one you found. Watching a worm inch through the dirt can be fascinating when done through the eyes of a child. Don’t forget to look up too. You can watch the clouds, birds in the sky and squirrels in the trees.

Collections are fun for children to start and they give them a lot of learning opportunities. Starting to collect rocks is free and easy. When the collection gets big enough the play can revolve around counting and sorting the rocks by size or color. They can plan a way to display their rocks, they can label their rocks and use their early writing skills (aka sribble writing!)

Using a camera is a great way to bring the discoveries home to continue studying. Digital cameras make it so easy to grab an image and use it in many different ways. Include your child in the picture to make it more personal for them. Create a nature album with your photos and write captions for the pictures. It could become a favorite bedtime book.

Interacting with nature can be a lot of fun too with a good dose of learning to boot. In the spring, birds are getting ready to build their nests so gather some yarn, string or dryer lint and place it out in the yard in a bush or tree limb. When the birds find it they will gather what they need to line their nest. It is always fun to watch animals eat, so find some place to place a feeder . My favorite is planting seeds. I love to grow vegetables and flowers. While I have a big garden you can grow things in a very small space, even a big flower pot. Watching a tiny seed grow into a beautiful flower is so much fun and watching the delight on your child’s face as their flowers blooms is even better.

As you may have gathered I am a nature lover. My own children spent many wonderful hours on walks in the woods near our house. We have observed deer and rabbits, wild turkeys and foxes, baby skunks and raccoon families. They had collections of rocks, pine cones, feathers and more. Now they are teaching their own children to love nature.

All these activities are learning experiences. They expand vocabulary and develop a sense of curiosity in the child. They improve observation skills which can really be helpful in school.

I saved the best part for last. You are spending precious time with your child. Some day down the road the memory of a trip to McDonald’s will fade but they will long remember the time you spent with them getting their hands dirty in the soil or grass stains on their knees from following some critter through the grass. It is spring get out there and enjoy it with your children.

-Miss Margaret

 

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