Spending time outside can be crucial to your child’s learning and development.

There are a number of ways that nature can enhance your child’s early learning:

  • Nature piques your child’s natural curiosity
  • There are countless sounds, sights, and smells for your child to explore
  • Your child can learn to be gentle and respectful to the environment around them
  • Moving about and playing outside helps your child to stay active, happy, and healthy.

These are just a few of the many reasons that every Harmony centre includes an outdoor play area with real grass, gardens, and plenty of space for your child to roam, specifically designed to support your child’s learning journey.

However, you and your family can also take advantage of Australia’s beautiful autumn season to help your child connect with the great outdoors.

Not sure what kind of activities you should pursue?  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Plant a vegetable garden with your child

Planting a garden with your child is a perfect way to spend time together outdoors and to learn about the steps and care required to foster a garden of their very own.

From an educational perspective, growing a garden can teach children a number of valuable lessons:

  • How to responsibly take care of a living, growing organism
  • How to research different plants and learn about the environment that they need to flourish
  • How to create their very own garden space and keep it free of pests and weeds.

This is also a perfect opportunity to encourage your child to try new foods!

As a family, you will all enjoy selecting what vegetables and plants you would like to include in your garden, selecting the location where you will plant it, and building your planting space.

If you choose to build your own special vegetable garden by creating a completely new garden space in your backyard, then you will have even more opportunity to spend time outside as you prepare the new garden space to be ready for planting!

Take a family trip to an orchard

If you do not have enough space in your backyard for a new garden, or if your child is not interested in planting their own, then you could instead take a family trip to a local orchard and spend the day there.

Though your child will not be planting the many trees and bushes themselves, this is another opportunity to teach your child about the process of nurturing plants so that they grow to bear fruit. Perhaps your child would even enjoy talking to an orchard worker to ask them questions about their daily activities and the challenges of maintaining such a large crop of fruits.

Spending the day walking through an orchard is also a fantastic way to encourage your child to be up and active as the weather gets colder rather than retreating indoors.

One of the most enjoyable activities that your child can pursue during a trip to an orchard is to pick their very own basket of fresh fruit! Your child will love peering into the branches, inspecting fruit for ripeness and quality, and will be proud to bring home their full basket at the end of the day.

A fun follow up to an orchard trip is to take the fruit that your child has selected and use it to bake a dessert together!

You and your children could spend hours in the kitchen learning how to make pies and tarts from scratch. In addition to gaining quality family time together, you could also use this experience to teach your child about measurements and proportions and enhance their reading skills.

Go on a nature adventure

With the colder weather comes a fresh look at all of the familiar scenery that your child sees every day. Don’t let your child miss out on the opportunity to watch the world around them change!

Exploring your child’s favourite parks and playgrounds during the autumn season allows them to witness all of the changes that the autumn weather brings.

Here are a few things that you can do on nature walks to foster your child’s inquisitive nature:

  • Encourage your child to point out all of the ways that their favourite locations are changing
  • Ask them why they think that these changes are happening
  • Take note of any questions that you are unable to answer, and commit to learning the answers together when you return home
  • Let your child take charge of the exploration, and follow them in whichever direction their curiosity leads.

This is an activity that you can pursue together throughout the year as the seasons continue to change. Your older children could even lead future nature adventures with younger siblings, creating a strong bonding experience for the entire family!

Create autumn-themed arts and crafts

The beautiful autumn scenery can be more than just something pretty to observe – you and your child can create memorable arts and crafts project using things from nature!

Leafy craft projects can make perfect autumn decorations for your home, and your child will love showing off their latest creations.

What’s more, your child will be eager to explore the outdoors knowing that they are on a mission to collect leaves, nuts, and small branches for a project. Just walking in your neighbourhood, or even in your own backyard, can produce enough supplies for several projects – no need to stray far away from home!

Here are a few project ideas perfect for autumn crafting:

  • Create an autumn leaf garland that you can display in your home throughout the season by collecting leaves and creating colourful rubbings
  • Make these simple pressed leaf collages that can be framed or hung on the fridge
  • Use some hot glue, cardstock or painted cardboard, and collected nature items to transform ordinary objects into creative pictures.

Best of all, making autumn craft projects will both engage your child in the outdoors and allow them to hone their creative artistic skills!

No matter what autumn activities you choose to pursue, your child will benefit from the additional opportunities to spend time outdoors. At Harmony we commit to mirroring those experiences in our child care centres to provide additional opportunities for your child to learn and grow.

Want to take a look for yourself? Please contact us to schedule a meeting or book a tour to see if Harmony is the right fit for your child!

References

http://harmonylearning.com.au/nature-secret-enhanced-early-learning/

http://www.aboutthegarden.com.au/index.php/autumn-flower-herb-fruit-vegetable-planting-guide-by-temperate-zone/

http://www.kidspot.com.au/things-to-do/activities/autumn-leaf-garland

http://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/handmade/fall-leaf-collage-how-to-pictures