Nature is made by nature, not by man. Nature can be used for many different things. It can be used for a natural playground, a learning experience, a science experience, a meditation place. The list is endless on what nature can be used for. The best part about it is that there is no list that states what it can and can’t be. It is all in your imagination. This is important for children to learn and grow with. Without nature, there would be no land to live on, no land to play on, and no land to discover and explore. It creates an open-minded adventure for any child.
This paper will explain the importance of nature in a child’s life. Nature fosters the imagination. There is no structured play or premade envisions on what things should or shouldn’t look like. How the child thinks and sees things is how things will appear to a child. For thousands of years, children have used outside as their main source of play. Humans have evolved with nature. Nature fosters the imagination because there is no limits to what a child can perceive things as. A child can be a pirate, a princess, or whatever he or she may want to be.
Unlike coloring books, there is no outlined picture. Nature is not “it is what it is”, nature is “it is what you think and see. ” Because there are no guided instructions, it gives the child an ability to guide their own play. This is important for leadership and imagination. It helps the child live their wildest dreams and think up anything they wish. This is a crucial part to developing imagination. Technology is a big issue when it comes to shaping a child’s mind. There are almost always pictures of what things look like or what they “should” look like.
This gives a child a picture in their head of what the image should look like. This blocks the imagination because the child is not free to what they should think about the picture and it does not give them a chance to create the picture in their head on their own. In recent history, technology has advanced more than ever. Elementary schools are using programs and technology to take spelling tests, practice their reading, taking tests, reading to the children. All of these have their ups and downs but it takes away from nature. People are getting so caught up in technology that they orget about their natural playground that accessible whenever anyone pleases.
Technology is not always accessible. Natural playscapes are growing in childcare centers. It is becoming more popular everywhere. A natural playscape or playground is a space where there are no manufactured play structures. It is all based on nature and using nature as materials for the playground. These may include sand pits, water, vegetation, boulders or other rocks, textured pathways, etc. These playgrounds are relatively inexpensive and are easier to create rather than assembling a premade play structure.
Having natural playscapes teaches the children about their senses (touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell), social/emotional play, leadership in their own imagination, and challenges the child to learn about new things and explore freely. A big lesson to learn for a child with natural playscape is the respect for nature. Growing vegetation to put on the playground with the children and having them involved in this transformation shows and teaches the children about the cycle of plants, respecting nature, and all about gardening. These are important lessons for any child to learn.
Nature teaches children about how to respect the world around them. With technology, you can learn how to do anything. But with nature, you can learn how to do most things and how you learn is by doing not researching. By planting vegetation, the child learns about the cycle of plants, what it takes to take care of it, and what it takes to plant it. This teaches them responsibility and explores new knowledge to be absorbed. If we teach the younger generation now how to respect nature and how to take care of it, it will give nature a fighting chance in the future. Nature also helps children develop their observation skills.
There is a lot to be learned and new things to explore. With all of these new things, they are able to free roam and observe what these things are. This helps in their future with school and life-long learning. Not only does nature help the development of a child’s creative side but it may be proven to help ADHD and ADD. In a study done by Frances Kuo, PhD and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD from the University of Illinois, it showed that activities done outside are less likely to show the effects of ADHD. They sent out ads and got more than 400 responses from parents who wanted to participate in this study.
There were about 322 boys and 84 girls and lived all over the U. S. in different house settings. Activities were done inside and also outside with nature. This resulted in the children showing less signs of their ADHD according to their parents. A questionnaire on the internet followed the activity and “In each of 56 analyses, green outdoor activities received more positive ratings than did activities taking place in other settings,” Kuo and Taylor wrote. Where the child was from, age and sex did not show any significant to the outcome of the study. Nature also contributes with health.
You can never be fully unhealthy if you play at least an hour a day outside. With the technology boost, most children choose it over going outside. This causes their obesity to escalate and the child being physically fit to plummet. Nature encourages a child to run around where ever they may choose rather than sit on a couch and play a game. Being physically fit has proven to expand a life span. If nature is being introduced at a young age, they are more willing to participate in physical activities that build a stronger heart and health. Gross motor and fine motor skills are developed faster with outdoor play.
It promotes gross motor physical activities such as running, jumping, skipping etc. It also promotes fine motor such as picking up grass, flowers, and leaves. Introducing this to young children is important. Although they develop these skills naturally, playing outdoors will help advance these skills. Nature is an important part of life no matter what your age is. It fosters imagination, helps promote creativity, creates leaders, promote social/emotional play, learning respect the earth and what is around you, develop gross and fine motor skills, teaches you the cycle of vegetation, and can teach you so much more.
It is a subject that is based on life learning and it will always be available as long as people learn about it and keep it around. Nature is a natural gift that no one can take away. Some people forget that it’s the simple things that can make the bigger difference. Personally, this subject was interesting for me to learn about. At my center that I am working at, Carolyn’s Red Balloon, we are redoing our playground to a natural playscape. We have so far taken down the big play structures and kept the house looking part on the floor. The children have had improved behavior because there is less structures to get away with things on.
We also have been growing plants in our classrooms such as beans, strawberries, and tomatoes so far and the children love to come in and see the progress the plants have made. Before we stared this, they used to pull out all of the flowers and kill all of the bugs they saw. Now that they are learning about respect for the earth, you can tell they are truly changing. They now observe bugs rather than killing them and love to watch the flowers and plants grow. I have seen a personal change in each child and that is why I choose to research this topic.
Courtney from Study Moose
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