There’s no better way to interact and play with your child than by using his or her five senses. One of the best ways to use your senses is to go outside. While you want to ensure that inside your house is safe for your little ones, you also want to help your child understand the beauty of the outdoors and help them understand how to be safe there as well. Instilling a love for nature starts at a young age. Stimulate your child through their senses by taking them outside and doing some of these activities.
“We tend to block off many of our senses when we’re staring at a screen. Nature time can literally bring us to our senses.” – Richard Louv
Find ten things in nature that have a fragrance and let your child sniff each one. Have them close their eyes and tell them what each item is. Try things like lemons, roses, and grass – natural plants and foods that give off distinct scents. You can also let them guess, helping them better identify smells and exercise their brains as well.
Don’t worry about the mess. Let your child experience the texture of sand, rocks and dirt. Sifting the earth between their hands will excite their curiosity – plus the exposure will also help build up their immune system as they get older. If you are concerned about things getting too messy, try containing it all to a kiddie pool which you can quickly clean after the fact.
Everywhere you go there are things to see. Nature gives us some of the best possible views from scenic landscapes and mountains to the blades of grass and bugs on the grounds. Make sure you’re intentional about pointing things out. Explain to your kids what the trees are, point out to them the different types of flowers and animals you see while outside.
Kids will love this one. Think of foods that are straight from nature, like honey, berries and herbs. The more variety, the better. Have your child close their eyes and guess what you are giving them after tasting. They’ll love the exciting new experience and maybe might even find new healthy, natural foods that they’ll grow to love.
Nature is filled with all sorts of sounds. Try to think about place you can take your child where the wind blows through the trees and bird sing. Waterfalls and creeks are also great to expose them to the sound of rushing water. You don’t have to go too far either – even a trip to the park can be a great time to hear all sorts of new noises.
Consider starting a journal of your child’s nature experiences. Write down their reactions with quotes and insert pictures. These memories will last a lifetime. Want help coming up with more ideas to help your child grow and develop their senses? Care Net offers parental support to help you get through these crucial first few years. Reach out to us today and let us know how we can help your family.
By Gina, Federal Way Director