There are so many amazing benefits for your child to spend time engaging with nature and its elements. Of course, we can’t always be outside, so it is a wonderful idea to bring as many natural elements into your home and your child’s learning space as possible. While it can seem like quite a challenge at first, you’ll find that really just a few simple changes to what you already have set up can make a world of difference! Here are my five favorite tips for bringing nature inside:
1- Utilize Natural Light
One of the most important things to consider in an indoor learning space is the amount of natural light that filters into the room. This can make all the difference in the feel of the space itself, as well as the benefits for your child. Interaction with and exposure to natural light, even through a window, provides your child with a healthy and calming learning environment and gets rid of the harsh false lighting that is not at all conducive to a learning space. If your incoming light is limited by few or small windows, there are a few tricks you can use to get as much light as possible from a small window. First, take off any blinds or curtains or shutters unless absolutely necessary – like if your learning space and bedroom are the same space and you need a nighttime light blocker – or use light, sheer curtains to allow light to pass through. Another tip is to use mirrors! Mirrors will reflect the natural light around the room making it seem like you have a lot more than you really do. Hang mirrors of all shapes and sizes around the room, especially at your child’s level. Include small, safe mirrors that can be used on top of tables for extending play.
2- Plant Life
Having daily exposure to green plant life is so incredible beneficial to your child’s overall health – physical, mental, emotional, etc. There are so many easy ways to bring plants into the learning space, so I encourage you to fill every empty space with something living and green! Have your child keep a small indoor garden in pots or recycled containers by planting herbs or easy to grow flowers. Succulents are easy to care for and create a nice zen feel to the space. Keep a vase of real flowers on the table for art inspiration and imaginative play. Vary the size of the plants you have in the room – tall plants on the ground, small plants on a shelf, even hang some from the ceiling. Bringing plant life into the learning space is a fantastic way to bring nature indoors.
3- Natural Loose Parts
When you are thinking about filling baskets and shelves with loose parts, try to think outside the box and determine where you could replace something man made with something natural. When you introduce natural loose parts to a play space, you allow your child the flexibility to explore and create with an entirely new medium, all while engaging with nature. Add a basket of rocks or small tree rounds to the block building area. Include sea shells in a light table space. Gather an assortment of seasonal items – leaves, pine cones, flowers, or acorns, and leave out for exploration. Start thinking now about what plastic things you can replace with Mother Nature’s goodness!
Your child’s space does not have to be elaborately decorated, themed, or color coordinated to be an incredible learning space! Ditch the generic wall art and start thinking about ways that you can bring nature into the learning space as decor and inspiration! One of my absolute favorite ways to do this is to suspend a large tree branch from the ceiling! I’m sure at first this sounds pretty crazy, but the feel that it brings to a room, and the inspiration for creation that it will encourage is incredible! What will your child want to create to hang from their tree branch? How else can you use nature to decorate a space?
5- Nature Table
One super quick and easy way to bring nature indoors is to set up a nature table (or tray if you’re short on space) for your child. Use this space as a place for them to collect an assortment of natural items from their time spent outside. I highly recommend allowing this to be something that is freely your child’s space – set some ground rules (perhaps no living creatures are allowed inside) but allow them to gather what they feel is special or important to them and arrange, explore, sort, and create with the pieces they’ve gathered for their nature table. This is a great place to keep seasonal treasures or themed discoveries during learning units to extend the investigation phase past the structured activities. If you do only one thing after reading this post, set up a nature table indoors!
What other ways do you love to bring nature into your child’s learning space? I’d love for you to come share your ideas and photos in my Nature-Inspired Homeschooling Group on Facebook. We are a fantastic community of families growing and sharing together to provide enriching and meaningful nature-based learning experiences for our children.
If you’d like to learn some even more incredible ways to transform your child’s room into a natural learning environment, please join us for this FREE Nature Hack Challenge May 22-26. We’ll be covering all kinds of topics just like this, with daily trainings, a private group for accountability, and daily actionable steps to make transformations in just 15-20 minutes a day. You can join up here and get an extra awesome bonus when you do: CLICK HERE TO JOIN.