With summer upon us, make sure to get outside and enjoy the beauty around us. Nature calms us, and has the ability to reconnect us with the earth. Over 100 years ago, Dr. Montessori recognized the importance of nature.
“ Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is damp with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath it’s shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning as it wakes every living creature that divides its day between waking and sleeping.” Dr. Maria Montessori
Young children learn through their senses. This quote from Dr Montessori above embodies how rich their experiences can be. Many years later the memories of walking barefoot in sand from my own childhood are still so strong.
Here are 10 ideas for Montessori inspired outdoors activities:
- Treasure Hunt – take a basket with you on your adventure to collect leaves, acorns, shells, sticks, rocks, stones, and pine cones. make a list of pictures and work together to find all the items on your list. It could be in your yard, at the park, in the forest, or any outdoor place you have access to.
- Notice Nature – watch insects at work, droplets on leaves, the smell of rain, the colors of the sunset, the view from the mountains, the stillness of the lake or the ripples, the movement of the ocean, the wind in the trees, grab a magnifying glass to explore close up.
- Garden– you don’t need a lot of space to grow your own. You can set up a potting station with some soil, a scoop and some seeds. Have a watering can at the ready. Get adventuresome and start composting by adding your food waste to a compost bin or worm farm. Your children will learn in a very natural way about the food cycle and returning nutrients to the soil.
- Notice the Calm – find a place to sit and watch the clouds, to sit in silence, or just to breathe.
- Build your own hut, fort, play house, and obstacle course with friends and neighbors. Do a search for how to make a sunflower house or better yet head down to RJ Julias and order Sunflower Houses: Garden Discoveries for Children of All Ages by Sharon Lovejoy.
- Move – climb trees, balance along walls or tree stumps or logs, hang from branches, swing from a tire, ride a balance bike, kick a ball, jump rope, dance, chase each other, run fast, and walk slow.
- All weather exploration – there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. So get some great all-weather clothing and shoes and stomp in those puddles, get out each and every day.
- Make Art – use mud, water, leaves, flowers, moss, soil, seeds, grass and whatever other interesting pieces you can find. Lay them into patterns, make them into shapes, or work together to make a face or an animal.
- Make Music– hang in the garden old pots and pans, bells, and any other objects that make some sound when banged. Find some sticks to make some music.
- Anything to do with water – spraying the windows, filling a bucket and painting bricks with a brush, running through a sprinkler, making rivers with sand and water, or using a water pump at the playground.
Whether you prefer the beach or the forest, the mountains or a lake be sure to take time to enjoy nature each and every day. You and your children will return refreshed and joyful.