How to Include Nature-Based Play
Getting your kids outdoors can seem like quite the challenge, but it’s so worth it! Nature-based play is a key part of childhood and learning, and it’s, unfortunately, becoming rarer and rarer. Let’s make sure to give our kids the opportunity to explore and play outdoors.
This post contains affiliate links, see my disclosure policy for more information.
How to Include Nature-Based Play
There are so many reasons and ways to get your child outside. The benefits are absolutely worth the effort!
Fresh air, sunshine, and outdoor activities are great for children physically, and mentally. It also increases their mood and behavior. It does the same thing to you, doesn’t it?
When we opted to homeschool, I wanted to incorporate nature-based play into our kids’ education. I believe it’s a fundamental part of fostering a love of learning.
The natural curiosity of children is truly remarkable and being outdoors is a perfect base or foundation for their education.
Have you observed how inquisitive kids become when they spot something that catches their attention? They soak up information so quickly and outside only helping to further empower their curiosity.
How can you include nature-based play in your homeschool day?
Not everyone loves the outdoors. But, seeing its benefits makes it worthwhile. Commit to getting outside for a defined period of time, every day. It’s often the simple act of getting outside that hinders us from doing it. Once we are outside playing, the rest comes naturally!
Having a nature journal is just one example of how you can use nature-based play to weave in other learning. You can use a nature journal with your children to write or draw about what they saw/did in nature. Now you are not only giving them the opportunity to play outside, but also to use other skills, such as language arts and handwriting to reflect on their time.
Provide Tools for Outdoor Learning
To get the benefits of nature-based learning, you don’t need to live on a 100-acre farm, nor does your lawn need to be littered with every single toy you can find. Quite the opposite, actually.
Providing your kids with some basic outdoor learning tools will inspire their nature-based learning. Things like a magnifying glass, and a nature field guidebook on birds and bugs, are great for encouraging nature-based play.
Read Books About Nature
One of the most powerful ways to inspire nature-based play in your homeschool day is to read books about nature. When kids have background knowledge on a subject, it empowers them to make connections that will help them learn more and have a vested interest.
Check out this great list of Nature Study Books.
Take Nature Field Trips
A nature field trip can open a whole new world for your child. Even going to your local park can spark conversations and interests.
Find out what interests your child the most, and research where you can go to support their interest. If they love bird watching, find out when and where you can see migratory birds. Interested in how trees grow? Visit a tree farm or nursery. It sounds simple, but these field trips into nature can change the way your child views learning. Make it fun!
Bring Nature Inside
Sometimes the weather doesn’t permit nature-based play outside. There are only so many cold days that I want to go outside. So instead of doing that again, why not bring nature inside?
Keep connected with nature, do simple activities like collecting and painting rocks, or use leaves from different types of trees, bushes, and flowers to do a crayon rubbing on paper. You can also do rubbings of tree bark too.
There are tons of ways to learn using materials from nature! Use sticks and stones to solve math equations, or chat about the shapes of tree branches – learning is all around us and every discovery is valuable.
You can do it from a nature walk, from a planned outing, or even on a walk from the car to a building. It’s not hard to include nature in your daily life.