Research shows an unwavering hypothesis across the board when it comes to a child’s development; the first several years are absolutely the most critical. It is said that the time from birth to starting school is the most developmentally important time in a person’s life. Most science agrees that 90% of brain growth happens before age 5 and that major development is driven by a child’s sensory interactions and personal experiences with the world around them. Knowing how critical the early years can be should inspire and motivate parents and educators of young children to provide robust sensory experiences that encourage curiosity and cultivate positive values for the future.
Nature is an excellent place for children to learn. Playing outdoors not only provides opportunity for physical exercise and fresh air but also presents a large scale laboratory full of sensory stimuli. Nature has all the elements needed to foster curiosity, curate self confidence, develop motor skills, experience joy, practice critical thinking and decision making skills, and experience cause and effect in real time. The possibilities for activities are endless and can easily be adapted to suit any child’s needs
For children who have not yet reached school age, the simple act of playing outdoors is a multi-faceted learning experience. All an adult needs to do is take a child outside, supervise and gently encourage exploration to provide them with a rich learning experience. Over time playing and exploring outside can also create a positive lifelong connection with the natural environment. It really requires nothing more than appropriate clothing and a place to explore to give children an intense learning experience, a fun and healthy activity and a lifelong love for nature.
CWC can provide the setting with our free nature preserves scattered throughout Isabella County. To find a place to explore with your children visit our nature preserves page to find useful maps, directions and preserve information. The video below can provide some inspiration on guiding young children through interactions with nature.