In my opinion, Autumn is best time of the year for enjoying nature.The crisp, cool air that you can almost taste along with the bursts of bright colors make this season enjoyable to almost anyone.One of the ways I like to experience the great outdoors is through hiking and nature walks. Below are some helpful tips for bringing your little one along.
Tips for Walking with Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Bring a bag. Youngsters love to pick items up and collect things. If you don’t want to end up with your hands full by the end of your walk, carry a small sack, bucket or other container for your child(ren) to fill. You can even bring several and label them for different items to teach sorting skills if you want.
- Keep it short. Most little ones lack long attention spans, so don’t get discouraged if your walk is less than fifteen minutes. Consider planning several shorter walks instead of a single long one. If you do decide to try for a lengthy hike, break it up by stopping to rest and/or eat a snack.
- Use your senses. Learning how to use the five senses is an important skill that toddlers need to learn. Ask questions about what your children what they see, hear, smell, etc This is a perfect opportunity to work on colors, shapes and other concepts that you are trying to teach, Also, learning to be observant in nature will make exploring more enjoyable.
Another way to make nature walks fun is to participate in a little scavenger hunt. I have created a simple printable for this very purpose. It will encourage your little ones to be more observant during the walk and also promotes counting skills.
If you have several children (especially if they are a bit older), you can make it a game and see who can find everything first, Otherwise, it can be a guideline of items to look for and collect for an only child. Depending on where you are and the time of year, you may have to change some of them. For example, find two bugs instead of butterflies.
How do you encourage a love for nature with your children?
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