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Natural Resources & the Outdoors

Being in the great outdoors is so important for children. Although technology is excellent, it does take children away from a lot of experiences that may shape their childhood such as playing outside and collecting things. It helps children’s wellbeing to get plenty of fresh air.

Whilst outdoors, there are so many natural resources you can use to help enhance your children's learning and they come with many long term benefits too. Involve your child with collecting their own things by giving them their own bag or bucket to collect natural resources in, this will make it fun. Collecting is part of their learning. Your child is learning about sorting, grouping and learning new words to describe what they have found.

Here are the benefits with using natural resources –

  • Natural resources are free and readily available in the world around you, such as at home, at the beach, at the park. 

  • They enable children to learn using all their senses and be outside in the fresh air.

  • They help children to learn about the natural world around them.

  • Natural resources provide a fantastic way for kids to learn about concepts in literacy and numeracy in a fun way. 

  • They help to develop children’s curiosity, creativity and exploration.

Natural resources to collect could include shells, feathers, driftwood, seaweed, bark, hay, pinecones, rocks/pebbles, leaves, flowers.

What can children do with the natural resources?

The possibilities are endless! Even if you have a small space, you can easily use things like trays for children to set up their own activity.

Here are some ideas -

  • Collect up your child’s dinosaurs or other small world toys and use sand, pebbles, water and leaves to create a habitat.

  • Develops imagination and language skills during play.

  • Put out some paper cupcake cases and then provide mud, sand or play dough for the cake. The toppings and candles can be your sticks, leaves and shells.

  • Develops dexterity in the hands and fingers.

  • Put out a selection of shells or stones for your child to match by finding ones of the same type. Alternatively take photos of different shells, feather and leaves and then your child can match the photo to the real object.

  • Develops mathematic and problem solving skills.

  • Get your children to write their name in the sand or mud with sticks. This is great for children who are reluctant to use paper and pencils.

  • Literacy – name recognition.

  • Add your own toy animals to hay and grass clippings and make your own farmyard using natural materials.

  • Opportunity to talk about animals and how they live or where our food comes from, such as eggs and milk.

  • Fill a basket with feathers, large pinecones, large smooth pebbles, bunches of herbs and fresh, dried flowers and other natural objects.

  • Great for sensory play.

  • Making jewellery by threading shells or wood with a hole drilled through the middle onto some string.

  • Enhances hand eye coordination.

  • Create natural prints by pressing leaves and shells into dough or clay or place under paper and do rubbings with a pencil.

  • Learning about shape, size and patterns.

Please be aware that natural does not always mean non-toxic or safe to use. Make sure that children are supervised at all times.

It would be great if you could bring some of the collected objects into nursery for the children to use with their friends.

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