“Nature play is child initiated and child directed.”
This is a quote that I love from “The Real Benefits of Nature Play Every day” (Erickson & Ernst, 2011) It expresses how much children have to gain from free play outside. Their imaginations are hard at work to turn tall grass into bunkers and tree stumps into tables. Not only are children stretching their imaginations but they are working on problem solving, decision making and strengthening their social bonds with other children. All from their own minds and ideas, not from adults telling them to color inside the lines or from indoor assignments designed to teach Early Learning Standards. The children are teaching themselves.
The World Forum Foundation has Universal Principles for Connecting the World’s Children with Nature on their website: www.worldforumfoundation.org/nature. Here at The Adventurous Child, we really love creating children’s gardens!
For children to be able to take in all that nature has to offer, they have to realize that nature is right outside the door in their own root gardens. It is incorrect to teach them that they have to go to the rain forest or a reserve to experience nature. Even if you live in a city, plant some flowers in a pot and let your children pretend to be florists and botanists and watch the excitement in their eyes.