Spring has arrived and with it, hopefully for most people in the Northern Hemisphere at least, the days are getting longer and the weather more tolerable!
We know the temptation of just staying indoors. It’s easier. You don’t have to battle with changing a last minute diaper, battling with boots and waterproof jackets and pants. However, most children LOVE outside. Now that the chill has left the air, don’t let yourself take the easy way out!
Scientists all over the world have been studying the effects of nature on children and adults. So what have they found?
Being in nature:
- Reduces stress
- Makes you happier
- Increases creativity
- Encourages kindness
- Increases concentration levels
- Develops social interaction
- Boosts immune system
- Builds self-confidence
- Gives opportunities of problem-solving and discovery
What’s not to love?! Plus, you know what, your children will probably sleep better too. Win win if you ask me!
So join us in going on an adventure of foraging. The animal templates included are a great way of engaging your children when outdoors. It encourages them to use their EYES to see bits of nature they may not have noticed before. Their NOSES to smell new scents. Their HANDS to feel new textures. Their EARS to hear new sounds. And their TONGUES, because lets be honest, one of them will inevitably end up eating mud when your back is turned.
So when you are out in nature try asking your children questions like these:
- What flowers grow around you? Do they all smell the same?
- What about feathers and different shaped leaves?
- Are all the leaves that grow around you the same colour? Do they all feel the same?
Here is the list of what we found:
- A snail shell
- Large pine cones
- Littles pine cones
- Yellow Daffodils
- Wild daffodils
- Ivy leaves
- Wood forget-me-nots
- Lesser celandine
- Primrose, white, beige and purple
Now it’s your turn!
What you will need:
- Print outs of the animals (if you want to reuse them, we suggest laminating them)
- A bucket or box
- Any bit of nature you can forage
- Print out your animal sheets and show them to your children. Can they guess what animals they are? Why do they look funny, what are they missing?
- Taking your bucket or box with you, go out into the wild, where there is a forest, wood, park or every a garden centre or flower shop.
- Pick anything you see that you think looks interesting. What could it be used for when you think about the print outs?
Grace Selous Bull is an arts education author and freelance blogger. Her book, ‘Potty About Pots: arts and crafts for home and school’ is aimed at children from 5-12 years old and takes them through a journey of ceramics through time. Her blog, The Rainbow Tree, explores all aspects of arts and crafts, and is aimed at children of all ages. She is a full time Mummy of two girls, both of whom love being creative, and is married to her husband, Andrew, who does not. Follow her on twitter.
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