One of my greatest missions is to encourage more families and schools to get their children outdoors and learning through the beauty and wonder of nature. Over the years I believe I have succeeded in doing this through my curriculum, courses, challenges, workshops, etc. However, I’ve been feeling lately like there hasn’t been quite as much impact as I’d like there to be. And then, completely randomly one morning while I was simultaneously making breakfast for my kids and chatting with a friend online, this concept came to me. I sat with it and journaled out ideas for about a week, and the #150hoursoutside Project was born.
It’s that time of year again! Time for the Holiday Gift Guide, especially for your adventurous, curious natural learners! Instead of scrambling at the last minute, fighting the crowds, or worrying about picking out that “perfect gift” for the natural learner in your life, check out this carefully curated list of my favorite gifts that you’ll find under my tree this year! This is also a great link to pass along to grandparents or family members who are asking for ideas for the kids.
This list is broken down into some “must-haves” for all of your natural learners, tons of other gift ideas, and even gifts for the parents (the holidays aren’t just for kids, after all!). Even better… most of the gifts that you’ll find on the list this year are from small, family-run businesses, who literally do a happy dance with each order and item that are purchased. As a small, family business myself, I know how special it feels to be supported in the work that I do.
With many of the families and classrooms that I work with, one of the biggest things that the adults want to find solutions to is the way children are interacting in the learning/play environment. Children are being aggressive with each other or with the toys and materials they have. Children seem generally unhappy or have unusually short attention spans. Children aren’t showing any real interests or don’t want to participate in the activities that parents/teachers are setting up for them.
And almost always this can be traced back to one thing – clutter in the environment.
Writing seems like the hardest thing, doesn’t it? It’s the last big leap into full-blown literacy, and as parents we want nothing more than to watch our young ones blossom into happy, confident writers.
Unfortunately, most of the advice and activity suggestions that you find out there encourages you to stick workbook pages in front of your child, have them trace letters until their hands go numb, or force writing activities on your older writers that they really, REALLY don’t feel confident doing. And sadly… the statistics about writing are clear that this approach isn’t only developmentally unsound, but is causing a significant problem with how our children feel about writing and how often they choose to use this skill. An astounding number of children, teens, and even adults have decided that they don’t enjoy writing, aren’t good at writing, or actively choose to avoid it at all costs.
“Natural learning” is a phrase you’ll see all over my site, my social media, and in my courses, curriculum, books, and live videos that I do… so what EXACTLY does that mean?
If you’ve been a follower of mine for any amount of time, then you know that learning through nature and using Mother Nature as a resource for knowledge and joy is something that I talk about frequently. Today though, I’m going to get super clear on the definition of “Natural Learning” because it goes far beyond simply using nature as your primary resources for learning!
Natural learning is a philosophy that encompasses two major beliefs:
If you’ve been following along with our art space series, then by now you’ve determined why your children really need an art space in the home, and some super simple tips and steps to getting one set up and introducing the right materials at the right time. In this final post in our series, I want to introduce “Invitations to Create,” which are meant to inspire your child to expand their artistic and creative abilities in a variety of ways!
This is a series of posts designed to help you create an open-ended art space that will inspire your child to be creative, expressive, and to share their ideas and interests through visual art.
One of the most important pieces of interest-led learning is often left out of the process of developing learning experiences in the classroom/home – adapting the environment.
Once you’ve determined an interest that your group has, and you’ve figured out their background knowledge so you have a good foundational place to start with new learning experiences, you naturally want to start researching ideas for activities to explore that interest. But before you head to Pinterest or start exploring teacher blogs for ideas, you need to bring your attention back to your own environment first!