Happy Kids and the Importance of Nature

Happy Kids Mindfulness and Creativity

14-10-2022 • 13 mins

Today’s children are on tight schedules, with child care, school, and extracurricular activities. Even if the children are outdoors, the activity is usually structured, and not one of free adventure and immersion into nature. Often, outdoor experiences are for a short period of time only. As adults working with young children, we need to find ways to support not only our own connection with nature, but the children’s as well.

Nature’s invitations

When young children are exposed to nature, they see the beauty just as we do; but more importantly, they begin to interact with its offerings. Children automatically become hands-on in nature. Nature provokes children into thought, action, and formulating their own ideas. When children are involved in experiences with nature, they are absorbed and completely attentive to what is at hand. This exposure to nature can be simply going for a walk, playing in the yard, or hiking in the woods. There are many advantages to all types of exposure to nature.

How can adults help?

Adults can help children by providing natural environments to explore and adding tools to enhance explorations, such as shovels, magnifying glasses, pencils and paper, cameras, and related resources.

It is important to observe where and what the children are interested in and support those interests by asking open-ended questions. What did you discover? How does it feel?

What does it look like? How does it move? What should we do? Ask questions that will encourage the children to observe and to describe their observations. It is vital that adults share the natural world with children by planning related activities, but it is important for children to have the opportunity to discover nature on their own. When children connect with nature and freely explore its components, they develop their own personal relationship with nature. It is this relationship that will carry meaning into their understanding of nature.

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