Whether you are a parent, early childhood educator or caregiver, here are some ideas on how you can help your children engage and learn while enjoying the beauty of the Fall.
At the Montessori Learning Centre in Calgary, we promote activities that help children refine their senses and cultivate skills through natural experienced-based learning and hands-on activities. Much of our lesson plans involve nature.
By connecting with nature, preschoolers grow through hands-on experience and find a sense of belonging with the world they live in. Being outdoors isn’t just a fun stress reliever. It’s also incredibly important for your child’s development to explore the world around them. The easiest way to do that is by incorporating ideas that help them fortify the gifts they are naturally blessed with—the five senses. At Montessori Learning Centre, we direct our preschool lesson plans towards educating all the areas of the child’s development.
In this article, we’ll go over how you can get your preschooler to engage all five senses through nature. Keep reading to learn some of the best ideas from our preschool program to get your children outside and exploring their senses and the beauty of Calgary.
Outdoor Activities From Preschool Programs To Explore The Five Senses With Your Children
Helping your children to explore nature and to engage in all their senses plays a great role in their development, not only for preschool programs but also as they grow into adults. And, if your preschooler is emotionally heightened or has ADD, learning to engage all five senses is a very beneficial healthy mindfulness technique that will help them for their entire lives!
Calgary in the fall offers so many opportunities to discover nature in its most beautiful season. In nature, you have everything you need to engage your sight, hearing, sense of smell, touch, and even taste.
Let’s talk about some ideas from preschool lesson plans that you can use at home to help your children explore their senses.
Cultivating curiosity, the focus to investigate can be difficult at first. But, when you make it fun, your children will want to interact with learning and cultivating their skills.
Take your preschooler on nature walks in your local forest. Then when you’re back home, get them to draw or talk about what they experienced outdoors as an introduction. You can use this to help your children fortify their memory too.
The next time you’re outdoors, do a scavenger hunt with your child. Make a list and try to find different elements of nature. This helps your preschooler to study shapes and colors through different leaves and other things on the forest floor. Comparing the shapes and sizes of different leaves is also a great introduction to math as well.
There’s nothing like the smell of fall! The leaves, the cool air, and all of the aromas that the plants and trees produce before going dormant for the winter.
The late-blooming wildflowers are often the most fragrant, which doesn’t just serve to engage the sense of smell, but also makes a great way to cultivate confidence in your children, if they are developing slower than others.
Step out into the backyard or go for a walk in your local forest and get your children to smell the air. Ask them, “What does it smell like? What does it remind you of?” Scent also engages the memory, so this could be a great 2 in 1 learning experience.
To explore sound with your children, you can create a fun game for the family to listen to the birds and determine who’s making it and imagining what it could mean. You can use a bird book to guide you in determining which birds you’re hearing.
Listening to distant sounds to be able to recognize them cultivates focus, imagination, and investigation skills. Make an adventure out of this to increase your child’s motivation to investigate and analyze.
The taste part of things may be a little harder to accomplish in the outdoors. But there are things you can do to engage this sense. Some sweet and savory tastes of fall can be corn, apples, squash. You can also get them to try things like apple cider or pumpkin pie.
You can also try using spices like pumpkin spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon to link scent and taste. Most of our sense of taste comes from brain waves that stem from the scent, so this is a good way to introduce your kids to that.
Again, try to pair this with the memory, to really help things set in. When you make references to something your preschooler already knows, they catch on very quickly.
On a nature walk or during a forest bathing session with your children, you can compare all the textures within the woods. Here are a few examples:
- The rough bark of a tree.
- The soft and fuzzy feeling of moss
- The smooth texture of the leaves
There are other textures in the forest, but don’t forget to tell the children to watch out for poison ivy. That’s certainly something they will regret touching.
Other Tips And Ideas For At-Home Sensory Interaction For Preschoolers
The methods listed above are not the only ways to get children to use their senses in nature. There are animals, bugs, and a whole manner of things to get a child excited, exercise, and exploring! Here are some other methods.
Forest bathing is a great way to explore the five senses with your children, while also working on focus and mindfulness. In this technique, you go into the forest and simply sit, absorbing in everything that nature has to offer your five senses.
It’s an incredibly invigorating experience that has multiple effects on the mind, body, and soul. It relieves stress, encourages emotional and mental wellness, and it releases dopamine, which is the happy chemical.
Using a scavenger hunt or challenge preschoolers can help with team building, getting the children to work together and help one another.
Similarly, using a challenge or race will get the children to really engage. Everyone wants to win! Challenging preschoolers also helps to motivate the ones who don’t want to be outside to interact.
Bringing your preschoolers outdoors to learn is one of the best things you can ever do for them. There’s so much for children to learn and discover. Far from the overstimulation of toys, Calgary’s parks can engage all five senses in fully positive ways, offer your children the movement they so desire with only beneficial lifelong experiences.
Preschool programs like the Montessori Learning Centre are here to help your children learn using their own senses and strengths. We create preschool lesson plans that influence your child’s natural intellectual and cognitive development through experience and exploration.
Read here: To learn more about how your child can thrive and become the unique individual he/she is meant to become at the Montessori Learning Centre! You won’t regret it. We aspire to offer the best for your child!