The out­doors is call­ing — take the op­por­tu­nity to get your kids out­side and learn the im­por­tance of the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment

Highfields' Own - - Children's Collective - BY ALLY MARTELL

Young chil­dren learn some of the most valu­able lessons in life from the out­doors.

Well that’s what I think, and I’m speak­ing as a mum and a for­mer pri­mary school teacher.

It breaks my heart to see chil­dren end­lessly cooped up in front of com­puter screens.

I be­lieve chil­dren should spend time in­ter­act­ing with na­ture ev­ery sin­gle day – rain, hail or shine.

Even get­ting dressed prop­erly for the con­di­tions out­side is an op­por­tu­nity to teach your chil­dren about sun safety, warmth, rain and so on.

Here are my sug­ges­tions for help­ing your young chil­dren to learn from be­ing in the out­doors: ◆ Go for a walk – around your gar­den or a park or in your neigh­bour­hood – and en­cour­age chil­dren to use their senses. Ask them to tell you about all the things they can see, hear, smell and touch. Ask them to re­count th­ese things when they get home. ◆ Spend quiet time lis­ten­ing to the nat­u­ral world and smelling the air. ◆ Talk about bird songs and see if you can iden­tify kook­abur­ras and mag­pies. Try and copy the sounds. ◆ Give your chil­dren their own lit­tle gar­den. Plant seeds and watch them grow. Take pho­tos of them each week. ◆ Talk about dif­fer­ent flow­ers and leaves; their shapes and colours. Trace around the leaves on a piece of pa­per. ◆ En­cour­age an in­ter­est in the won­der of na­ture, the colours and va­ri­ety of flow­ers and in­sects. Try and draw them. ◆ Run on grass, kick leaves and jump in pud­dles as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

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