Nature is Cool!

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    By: Wargo Nature Center

    Nature is cool!  Nature is also important to the development of children in every major way; they benefit intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically.  Children who get outside on a regular basis are generally smarter, more cooperative and healthier overall. And who wouldn’t want that for their children?! Children also experience many other benefits:

    1.    More advanced motor skills, including coordination, balance and agility
    2.    Better language and collaborative skills because of more imaginative and creative play
    3.    Increased social interaction between children
    4.    Increased observation and creative thinking skills
    5.    Better ability to concentrate even in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    6.    Less stress; being outdoors is naturally calming

    Outdoor play does not have to be complicated with lots of gear, in fact the simpler the better!  Here are a few ideas for you to try:

    1.    Sit on a blanket and look for fun shapes in the clouds or count how many different sounds you hear. 
    2.    Go on a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood and look for all the colors in the rainbow, leaves that look the same or count how many wiggly worms you can find. 
    3.    Go for a 5 senses walk and talk about the things you see or hear, smell the dirt, touch moss and taste raspberries! 
    4.    Make a nature box by decorating a large flower pot or shoebox together. Use your box to display the nature treasures your child finds and brings home to you.
    5.    Watch the sunrise or sunset. Talk about the colors you see.
    6.    Put out a bird feeder and watch the birds.
    7.    Plant a garden then smell the flowers or taste the vegetables.
    8.    Provide easy science tools: tape measures, yarn of various lengths, hand held magnifiers. 
    9.    Contact your local nature center, they often offer programming designed for children and families.

    The love of nature often comes naturally to children.  As we provide the opportunity to have unstructured play in the outdoors we encourage a positive environmental ethic and may also create a lifelong interest in preserving nature, all while our children grow and develop.  The benefits are limitless!

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