Learning & Playing in Nature

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We here at Wee Wild Ones & Of the Wild Nature Preschool know how important it is to bring little ones outside and to encourage a connection with the natural world around them. Being outside can be fundamentally beneficial, it leads to one's well-being, health and overall happiness. We want to share a few ways you can get your little ones excited about the natural world too!  Here are a few ideas for games to play this Summer:

Animal Forms: Circle up and imitate the movement of different animals! Stretch, move, and get some exercise. Children can embody a bird ruffling its feathers, a bear scratching its back on a tree, or a frog hopping on lily pads. 

Plant Duplication: Collect leaves from different trees and plants within a certain vicinity. Show the children which leaves you have collected and let them know the area in which you found them. After they have seen the leaves and know the boundaries they search for the same leaves! A nature scavenger hunt that encourages observation skills.

Leaf Puzzles: Find leaves, the bigger the better, and break them up into multiple pieces. Children will then have to put the leaves back together like a puzzle.

Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of various nature items (such as leaves, twigs, pine cones, rocks, etc) and set out on a treasure hunt to find all the items on the list. Once everything is found, share and celebrate!

Nest Robbers: Everyone has a role as either a songbird or a crow. Players are not allowed to speak during the game, only making bird sounds such as squawks and cheeps. Song birds pair up to build a nest in a hidden location. Once the nest is prepared and well hidden, they have to gather 'food' (pine cones for example) from an abundance of 'food' placed in the center of the playing area. The songbirds have to gather as much food as they can to fill their nests, while the crows try to find the hidden nests and steal the food!

Reference: 'Learning with Nature, a how-to guide to inspiring children through outdoor games and activities', by Marina Robb, Victoria Mew, and Anna Richardson.

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