Monday, September 29, 2014

Autumn/fall nature walk

What could be more fun than going on a nature walk, to learn about the effects of Fall/Autumn and collect treasures along the way?! 
My daughter loves picking up twigs, leaves and stones all year round, she says that they are her special gift. We collect them all in a large vase near the front door, from time to time she likes to revisit the vase and make patterns with the natural objects inside. Playing with the natural objects inspired me to take her on a little Autumnal walk. 
Our aim for this activity was to discuss the changes that Autumn brings and collect natural items to explore and create future masterpiece's with.


Who can play?
Children of all ages would love this activity. Obviously the level of involvement will be different for each child as it depends on their age and stage of development. 

This activity is a great opportunity to learn road safety rules.
Be aware of what your child is picking up, especially if it is near an area where dogs go to the bathroom.
You will need constant adult supervision when your child is handling the found objects, as they could potentially be dangerous or cause a choking risk to small children.

What do you need?
1. Depending on the climate of the country, you will need sensible clothing and shoes
2. Stroller for babies and younger children (in case they become tired during the walk)
3. Clipboard, paper and pencil (attached with string, so that you do not lose it)
4. Basket or bag to collect the objects you find
5. Camera
6. Magnifying glass or binoculars 

Things to do on your walk
Babies: Go for a walk with your baby in the stroller and stop for a while to point out the leaves on the trees and floor. Just being out in the fresh air can also have a big impact on your babies overall development. 
Toddlers: Talk about the different colored leaves that they see. Count the leaves and encourage your child to pick them up and place them in a bag/basket. This not only encourages mathematical skills, but physical too. Discuss temperatures and weather conditions, for example is it hot, cold, windy etc.
Pre-schoolers and Kindergarten/reception: Talk about the changes that happen in Autumn for example, it gets cooler and darker earlier in the evenings. Discuss the changes in the colour of leaves and why they fall to the ground. Compare the leaves that they find and discuss their shape, size and what type of tree they have come from. 
Observe wildlife, such as squirrels harvesting nuts for winter or the different birdlife that Autumn brings.
This age group will also enjoy taking photos of what they find with a camera. My daughter Bee, enjoyed drawing a picture of a tree and an acorn on the clipboard, whilst we were on our exploration.


What can be learnt?
  • Communication and language- Listening to and following instructions
  • Physical development- Fine and large manipulative skills and coordination when picking up leaves etc and acing them in the basket. 
  • Personal, social and emotional- Making relationships. Fun and enjoyment. Developing sensory skills. Making decisions as to what items they would like to collect.
  • Mathematics- Learning about capacity concepts. Comparing and measuring leaves and talking about sizes. Counting objects that you collect.
  • Understanding of the world- Learning road safety. Change of state and talking about weather conditions and seasons. Developing an awareness of the world around them and their local environment. 
  • Literacy- Developing fine manipulative skills that are needed for holding writing tools and an opportunity to write on the clipboard the names of the objects that they find.
  • Expressive arts and design- Looking at patterns and designs in the environment.
What next?
Display your natural items in a bowl to encourage future discussions regarding Autumn. If you found man made items whilst on your walk, talk about litter and the importance of placing it in the bin/trash.
There are so many ways that you can play and be creative with the items you have found. Here are a few ideas:
1. Maths concepts could be encouraged by making sequences with acorns and leaves. 
Making patterns with natural objects. This can also be done by using them as counting resources.
2. Autumn/fall sticky pictures
3. Leaf printing
4. Bark rubbing trees

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