Learning about nature is a very important part of Montessori education. In fact, when parents ask me about where to start with Montessori at home, or what to do when their children are having a hard time concentrating, I often say to spend more time outdoors. There is just something inherently beautiful about watching children explore the world around them. They really do notice such small, amazing details that we may miss as adults. One of the ways my family consciously adds extra nature time to our days is by going on regular nature walks with our kids.
Spending time in nature is important not only for children, but in general for the mental and physical health of all family members. Really, these walks are also about connecting and can bring the entire family together.
Tips for an Awesome Nature Walk with Kids
When I say nature walk, I mean spending at least half an hour exploring a place outdoors, really. That’s it. The purpose of these walks is not to get a work out, not to get somewhere, not to do anything except for enjoying your surroundings and the people you are with.
“There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving.” Maria Montessori
As adults, we can feel overwhelmed with the amount of tasks on our to-do lists. These walks are time to decompress and clear your mind. For children, taking a walk is not about the destination, but about the journey. They’ll probably stop 8765 times, explore the tiniest of details, and ask so many questions. It’s fantastic and does such wonders for their curiosity!
This may also mean that your planned 2 mile nature walk will consist of only covering a distance of a few feet. However, think about everything your young child will be learning! They will be examining the plants, trees, birds all within that space. Enjoy it! Take this time to relax and think about the beauty of our planet. Answer your child’s questions. Trust me, they’ll have tons!
This walk can and should be child led. Your child can set the pace. If your child can walk, let them walk. This is an important part of the Montessori approach – children should be given the opportunity to try and learn to do things on their own. Learning to walk is a part of development. When going on a nature walk, it is important for young children to explore and study nature up close.
Of course, if your child eventually gets tired, or if you have children of multiple ages, it may be a wise idea to bring a baby carrier.
This one can be hard for me, but really put the phone away. Turn the volume off, leave it inside, whatever, just don’t take it with you. Because I am paralysed, I always have my phone on me, just in case something happens. So volume off and it stays down in the bottom of my bag!
“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature, to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature… so that the child may better understand and participate in the marvelous things which civilization creates.”
This one is short and sweet – be sure to bring enough water (especially on warm days), snacks, and sunscreen. It’s important to make sure everyone is hydrated, but also to protect our skin from the sun, and to keep tummies satisfied. Going on such a walk can take a lot out of children, who are not only using physical but mental and emotional strength to absorb everything they are seeing. Plus, I like to take any chance I can to have a picnic!
Start a collection
There are many things you can do with the treasures your children find on nature walks. It’s nice to collect beautiful things, study them more at home, and to learn about the earth by going outdoors.
Related: You’ll also love our Nature in Homeschool Activities
You may even want to bring a magnifying glass for your children to really see all of those fantastic details up close!
Play the silence game
The Montessori silence game is a fantastic way to help children develop concentration, self-regulation, and awareness of the world around them. The object of this exercise is for the child to be silent and to listen t0 the sounds in the environment.
You may choose to sit down on the earth. Ask the child, “how silent can you be?” Y usually takes this as a challenge and gets very excited to show me how silent he can be. The silence is over when I softly, barely loud enough for him to hear, whisper his name. He opens his eyes, and we discuss all of the beautiful sounds we hear.
Put on some rainboots, old clothes, and get dirty. This is the perfect time for you to climb that tree with your kids, roll in the grass, and feel the crunch of those fall leaves! Laundry can always be washed, I promise! But those memories – ohhh you’ll cherish them!
My son loves to jump in puddles! We throw on some rainboots, old clothes, and get outside when it rains! It’s so much fun! I love to hear him laugh, to watch him experience the joy of something so simple! It was actually a jumping in puddles exercise that inspired our weather unit when Y asked me where the puddles came from last year!
Related: You’ll also love our Weather Unit
Get your set of Nature Posters!
- Flowers Poster
- Mushroom Poster
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I hope you have a fabulous day!