Bringing Nature Inside
I hope you are enjoying our 30 days of fall blog party. Our latest post is coming to us from Wyoming where Kayla finds creative ways to bring fall and nature inside year round.
If you have followed me on here for a while or follow me on my instagram, you might have seen that I LOVE playing outside. I truly believe that playing in nature benefits children (and adults) in so many ways! As seasons change there is something new to learn, explore, and discover every single day!
However, living in Wyoming it can be difficult to enjoy nature when you are 2 feet deep in snow for 6-8 (or more) months of the year. Our mountains received snow mid-August this year! The cold doesn’t always stop us from enjoying the wonderful experiences of Autumn! Even though it snows through most of Autumn, Winter, and Spring where I live, I’m determined to get as much out of our seasons despite the snow. How do I do that? By bringing nature inside!
You might be asking: Where do I start? It gets SO messy!
To which I say, yes. Nature is messy, but sometimes getting messy is the best way to learn! You can start by observing your kiddos while you are outside. What are they interested in and how can you replicate that inside?
Positives of Bringing Nature Inside:
- Nature is calming
- Natural materials boosts our immune system
- Nature involves all of our senses
Negatives of Bringing Nature Inside:
I see no negatives! As long as kiddos are exploring and learning it is a HUGE positive! Now, I love Summer. People are happier and friendlier, probably because they are outside soaking in that Vitamin D. Even though I love Summer, Autumn runs a close second because you can learn SO much from this time of year (and I like watching football and getting cozy in sweaters). Leaves change colors, birds fly South, weather gets cooler, school starts back up, and the food!
How Do I Go About Bringing Nature Inside?
Start off small! Perhaps you bring in a plant or two. Here are some that don’t require a lot of attention but do a heck of a lot air cleaning which helps when inside gets stuffy. Now, don’t be like me an over water a succulent that are practically impossible to kill. Flowers are also a great way to bring nature inside! Plus when they begin to wilt you can use them as a learning tool like we did!
Another way to bring nature inside is by finding natal materials to utilize. Loose parts are a great tool to utilize as a learning tool because they promote creativity, problem solving, and motor skills! We use a lot of natural materials in our sensory boxes when we are cooped up due to cold weather. We use rocks (big and small), tree cookies, bricks (yes, real bricks), wooden toys, seashells, sand, dirt, water, flowers, leaves, rice and hay just to name a few. There are no rules saying you cannot bring nature inside, so why don’t you?!
You can also bring in manipulatives such as in-season foods or animals! Food and animals allow children to be exposed to new experiences in a safe environment. During my internship while in college a local farm was invited to bring in their pigs, goat, and lamb. Some kiddos did not want to touch the animals whereas others did not want to stop! I also had a kiddo bring in her baby chicks last and it was a hit! They were already used to being handled by little hands and could not fly away yet. The questions and thoughts that come out of children after an experience like this is amazing.
This past winter we even made snow ice cream! It was a different way of playing with snow and our hands didn’t get cold! We made this in the spring when we had really wet snow, but you can do it in Autumn and Winter with drier snow, just add more heavy whipping cream! In the link above we brought snow inside to paint with and put it inside our sensory tubs! When the weather gets too cold for us to go outside, we bring it inside!
Bringing Nature Inside
Bringing nature hopefully is not a daunting task. Children are naturally curious about nature and how things work so let’s give them the opportunities to explore and develop schemas about the world around them. It may be a little messy, but sensory play is beneficial for children.
If you are looking for books to help you get started, I reviewed a few here.
I am so excited to be part of this group of bloggers blogging about fall and nature! There are so many wonder people blogging and sharing their great ideas!