The mind of a child is totally open, unscripted, waiting for discoveries to be made. It is like an unpaved new path. Being around nature for kids is very important for their healthy development, for their equanimity, and for their peacefulness. There are tons of studies that show the benefits when children spend time outside of their city enclaves. What a gift it is to the child when they are taken to the park or to the beach.
A child who interacts with nature has a living and organic play environment. What they find while interacting and engaging with the objects in nature is what they feel to be the closest thing to their own selves. In a sense that just as each child is unique and different, nature and the objects in nature are also different, in a way that nothing is the same, static, or flat. In nature, things come exactly in the shapes and forms that life has to offer. Children can read into that and it is a kind of instruction for them.
Children love to be in a context where they can experiment and play. That is what play is to them, learning is playing. When children put things together that have never been put together before. For instance, when they are in the backyard playing with pots and mud, when they are in the woods building a playhouse, or on the beach building things in the sand.
There are fewer children playing ball on the streets nowadays. It is not common for kids to be taken out into the environment to learn about it. Since they have never seen a river or waterfall, they have grown to think that water only comes out of taps. When children are asked to walk barefoot on grass, they feel very awkward because they have never experienced this type of contact before.. But these are a different way of learning itself, it is a different way to acquire information.
Imagine telling a story in an open-air classroom, under a tree with birds singing. Imagine poking holes in the soil, looking for small animals and things, and watching a rainbow come up. When children are poking a hole in the ground and sitting next to them, they could tell a thousand stories about it. They will be able to talk about it like scientists, noticing every tiny detail and intricacy. This is what small kids have, a pioneering gaze over things.
In this blog post are 8 reasons why exploring nature with children is important.
- Nature exploring calms the mind: Study reveals that concentration improves children with ADHD after a walk in the park. In today’s buzzy world, with constant distractions and disruptions, nature exploring is the one thing that provides steadiness. Being outside helps kids feel less stressed. Kids can use nature as an escape from the stress and anxiety of to-do lists and homework. Nature soothes the brain which is constantly overstimulated by technology.
- Nature makes them feel good: Being outside can influence a child’s psychological and physical energy dynamics, making them feel more alive and balanced. Nature is a perfect example of being balanced and surreal in every corner. This would in return influence the child to look at things in a balanced way and feel things in a balanced way. Bring the child’s mood to a gradual balance and eventually make them feel good.
- Nature enhances learning: Being in nature helps to reset the mind and engage it differently. By playing and conducting activities in nature kids discover new things in nature that they have never seen before. They can see reactions to different actions, for example, seeing a rainbow while it rains or seeing a plant close its leaves as soon as it is touched, etc. Exploring nature teaches various capabilities and virtues like dusting off the mud and getting up after a fall from running, forms of life inside the ground, different features of the trees and plants, various flowers, and fruits, etc.
- Nature boosts well-being and kindness: Interacting with nature along with classmates and friends can help improve tolerance and kindness towards their peers and friends. It can develop the quality of sharing and helping virtue. Spending time in nature boosts self-esteem, and mood, and relaxes cognitive intensity.
- Being in nature makes children think: Spending more time in nature makes kids ask various questions of ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘what’ which simply means that they are thinking about each detail that is happening around them. It makes them ask questions about the earth, the things in nature and the life that it supports. Answering these questions that they ask will in fact educate them and help them in retaining more information outside of the classroom.
- Nature teaches kids responsibility: Being outside and being involved in nature has its own dangers as well, there could be animals around, there could be deep water bodies, and there could be bugs or thorny shrubs. The children gradually learn to navigate through nature with experience to be more responsible and stay out of danger and stay away from trouble.
- Nature gets children to move more: Nature plays an important part in keeping children physically active while doing anything in nature. This could involve climbing a tree, running around, chasing things, or being chased around, throwing things, if it is with peers or friends, the better. Spending time in nature every day can cultivate a healthy relationship with being outside more comfortably and more often.
- Nature promotes creativity and imagination: Being in nature surely has a positive effect on a child’s creative brain as it opens various ideas that can be learned from nature. Exploring nature curriculum increases the imagination and thinking capability of the child.
At Euroschool, we encourage the kids to get involved in both classroom activities as well as activities in Nature. This includes conducting sessions outside the classroom along with nature and interacting with sheltered animals and domesticated animals as well as poultry.