Experience nature with all senses!
The temperatures are getting milder, the days longer and nature is awakening to new life. Spring is just around the corner! The perfect time to roam the woods and meadows for hours together with children again and marvel at the flora and fauna.
You may also remember how fascinating it was for you as a child to watch dung beetles go about their business, or how joyfully you played in a stream. These experiences are not only very valuable in the home environment, but also enrich the daily kindergarten routine.
Forest and nature days as part of the educational concept!
Experiencing nature with all their senses has a lot of positive effects on children. Fresh air, exercise and lush greenery not only contribute significantly to physical health, but also strengthen the little ones mentally. Children who spend a lot of time in nature at a young age are less likely to develop mental illnesses, according to Danish researchers.
In addition, the different experiences in nature promote the mental, social as well as motor development of the children. Adventures are undertaken together, fears are overcome, projects are planned, new things are discovered and tried out. Many children outgrow themselves the first time they climb a tree or master a slope. Team spirit is also required when it comes to procuring natural materials or clearing an obstacle out of the way.
It is therefore worthwhile to integrate time in nature as a fixed and recurring program item in the kindergarten’s daily routine and to experience forest or nature days together with the youngest children on a regular basis.
Nature as a creative playground!
You have certainly seen how leaves, sticks, stones and other natural materials inspire children’s imagination in a special way. Nature offers the freedom to be creative away from prefabricated settings and purpose-bound objects. Sticks become swords, tree trunks become airplanes, or mud becomes soup for lunch.
In addition, forests, fields, and meadows lend themselves to a variety of joint projects suitable for children of almost all ages. That’s why today we’d like to introduce you to 3 ideas that you can easily try out on the next nature outing with your kindergarten group.
Build a teepee!
Houses, caves, tents – children love to build shelters of any kind. With a little help, this also succeeds in the wild! Building a teepee tent out of branches is not only incredibly fun, but also appeals to both the senses and various skills.
First of all, the tasks have to be distributed: Who will look for the building material and who will take care of the building site. Even the first steps of this project require team spirit and concentration from the little ones. Once all the important things have been procured, it’s time to start setting up. In doing so, it’s important that not everyone just kind of starts. Discuss with the children how you can build your teepee in the most stable way. You are also welcome to help them build the basic framework. The stabilization with thinner, smaller branches can usually be done by the children on their own.
Laying mandalas with natural materials!
Everyone grabs a bag and the search for various natural treasures can begin. Whether leaves, stones, nuts or pieces of bark – everything that pleases and nature has left you voluntarily. This is a fun way to teach children to be mindful of flora and fauna.
Once the bags are full, everyone gathers in an open area. Because now it goes to the laying of the nature mandalas. The nice thing is, here you can very well take a step back and just let the kids be creative. This creates lots of interesting shapes and forms that you can talk about afterwards.
Gymnastics lesson in nature!
Where better to jump, climb or balance than in nature? Exactly! Therefore, you can simply move the children’s gymnastics outside. Sawed-off tree trunks are a wonderful way to train your balance, while large stones and rocks encourage you to climb and jump down. Or you can use smaller branches to create a slalom course that the children have to negotiate by running backwards, for example.
You can either make the gymnastics lesson in nature completely free by simply letting the children try out everything, or you can prepare a forest Olympics with different stations! This is guaranteed to provide lots of fun and at the same time promotes health and motor development!
So let’s get out with the kids and experience nature with all senses! We hope you enjoy trying them out!