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5 Reasons To Love Nature Play

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There are even more reasons to love spending time in nature with our children - here are some practical suggestions for advocating outdoor play and learning into high quality programming, with an emphasis on creating time and space.

Written by: Early Educational Advisor - Jo Harris  

Many precious memories are created when spending time in nature. 

Wonderful sounds are enjoyed by the various call signs of our unique and native animals and wildlife. 

Participating in events like the Aussie Backyard Bird Count held annually during National Bird Watching Week can inspire future generations to begin the love of nature from a young age, and to support their understanding that they can and will contribute to the conservation of species with their interest and enthusiasm.

Landmarks vary in colour and size, often surrounded by beautiful trees that dot the often wide open landscapes and coastlines nestled by ancient forests, home to these beautiful creatures and many more!

It has become widely recognised the importance of nature in our lives as we have felt compelled to nurture our precious Earth by changing our lifestyles, often returning to past practices that encourage sustainability. 

In 2015, a Research Report from Planet Ark, one of Australia’s authorities that are leading the charge for everyday people to become more conscious of the need to change, found that children who engage in just one third more outdoor activities than their peers grow up to be happier adults.

 

  ‘ Exposing children to environments that reduce stress and increase wellbeing 

has long-term effects on the structure of the brain and happiness later in life.’

 

Planet Ark 

 

 

There are even more reasons to love spending time in nature with our children - here are some practical suggestions for advocating outdoor play and learning into high quality programming, with an emphasis on creating time and space that reflect optimal health and wellbeing as part of a holistic learning environment.

 

1. Connecting with Nature Promotes Curiosity, Awe and Wonder

Becoming aware of the seasons allows the possibility of connections to be formed. Being ‘in tune’ with nature, it becomes easier to see and feel how things work. This can encourage children to become aware of their magnificent bodies and minds continuously in time with one another, with nature providing everything we need to thrive. 

 

 

2. Promoting Conservation and Sustainability 

Learning the valuable lesson of leaving nothing but footprints behind, it allows children to gain  more knowledge of who we are and what co-exists around us, sharing our world with us. Sometimes hidden, but leaving trails such as feathers, footprints and evidence of where and how they live, becomes an opportunity to learn more through observation and witnessing the magic of nature.

 

 

3. Focus on the Endless Learning Opportunities 

There is no limit to what can be learnt in nature, as it is constantly changing before our eyes. Keeping a close eye on the environment creates space for children to notice the differences that are sometimes hidden in plain sight - making room for curiosity to be ignited and further investigation is eagerly awaited. 

 

 

4. Encourage Discovery and Exploration  

Although each child is different, they are all curious to learn about the world around them. This may be actively by discovering how things work by directly interacting with them. For others it is the excitement of others who feel compelled to follow the lead of others and join them in their exploration. Being in nature, there are endless surprises and delights that await avid learners.

 

 

‘The best teachers are those who show you where to look, 

but don’t tell you what to see.’ 

A K Trenfor 
 

5. Develop a Practice of Gratitude 

Being surrounded by the natural world invites peace and contemplation, making it easier to instil basic practices of gratitude and mindfulness, essential skills to promote a healthy sense of personal wellbeing. In doing so this also encourages the development of intuition and an awareness of personal space to allow children to meet their own needs securely, which provides an opportunity to learn more about living and learning with others too. 

 

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