The Brightside - Unlocking The Benefits Of Nature Play
THE BRIGHTSIDE: TEN IDEAS FOR CREATIVE KIDS TO PLAY IN NATURE.
As adults we may be familiar with the sense of healing, and calm that is offered with nature immersion. It turns out that spending time exploring and interacting with the natural environment can actually have significant benefits across several developmental domains in our kids - especially children under five.
Nature play provides children with the opportunity to develop essential cognitive skills such as observation, classification and problem-solving. It also encourages physical activity, which is important for developing gross and fine motor skills. Think about little feet navigating uneven ground, climbing a tree or building a sandcastle.
One of our favourite things about nature play is the positive impact it can have on children’s development by promoting resilience, improved mood and emotional regulation.
As the weather cools, it may be tempting to bunker down indoors but don’t let it dampen your spirit for outdoor adventures! Try a bush playgroup or form one of your own with local families for a few hours of movement, play and socialising.
Here are ten creative ideas to inspire children to play in nature:
1. Scavenger Hunt:
Create a list of items that can be found in nature, such as a leaf, rock, flower, or bird, and challenge the children to find them all. This will encourage exploration and observation skills.
2. Nature Art:
Encourage children to create art using materials found in nature, such as leaves, flowers, and sticks. This could include making a collage, weaving a small basket or creating a nature-inspired sculpture.
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3. Outdoor Dramatics:
Encourage children to create their own outdoor theatrical performance using the natural surroundings as a backdrop. This will encourage creativity, storytelling, and collaboration.
4. Mud Kitchen:
Provide a designated area with mud and natural materials where children can experiment with creating their own outdoor mud kitchen. This will encourage imaginative play, exploration and experimentation.
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5. Bush Tucker Sensory Garden:
Create a sensory garden area where children can engage their senses by touching, smelling, and tasting plants. Familiarising them with native plants and bush tucker ingredients.
6. Nature Photography:
Provide children with cameras and encourage them to capture images of the natural world. This will encourage observation skills and creativity.
7. Nature Crafts:
Encourage children to create crafts using natural materials such as banksias, gum nuts, and rocks. This could include making jewellery, painting rocks or creating mobiles.
8. Nature Building:
Encourage children to use natural materials such as sticks, leaves, and rocks to build forts, dens or other shelters. This will encourage creativity, problem-solving and teamwork.
9. Animal Watching:
Encourage children to observe and learn about local wildlife, such as birds, insects, and mammals. Also learn some of their indigenous names. This will encourage an appreciation for the natural world and the diversity of life within it.
10. Nature Storytelling:
Encourage children to create and share their own stories inspired by the natural world. This will encourage creativity and language development.
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