Love thy Nature - Sensory hunt
Kia ora! With our vision to ignite love, connection and appreciation for nature being the foundations for each and every experience we encourage for the tamariki of New Zealand, we present you with a Farm School tried and tested "Seek & Discover" experience.
This fun activity was designed to promote connection with our natural environment, particularly for new tamariki or when exploring new nature play spaces.
Nature plays an important role in all parts of our wellbeing. When children engage in experiences that involve slowing down, and observing the small details in nature, they over time become more observant, aware and mindful in their movements, word and choices.
When seeking and discovering the natural taonga on the list pictured there presents opportunity for discussions that promote deep thought, reflection and wonder. At Farm School we brought our discoveries to a "sharing circle" where we shared with our friends their favourite find. One on one or in smaller groups you may be able to discuss all the found items, talking about the details of their finds, using the senses to explore them more.
Thought prompting questions
~ What do you like about this/that?
~ What do you notice?
~ I wonder how that happened/grew/became/formed
~ Does it remind you of anything?
~ What do you already know about it?
~ What would you like to know?
~ Imagine if we could... find/make/read/learn
Open ended questions about their discoveries promote communication and language skills, puts the ownership of the discussion and learning in their hands and allows room for leads into further learning, inquiry and projects that are child initiated and led.
We know that experiential learning is by far the most effective. Experiential learning in nature makes the body, mind and soul move together in synergy, creating the perfect opportunity to strengthen children's connection to themselves as individuals as they get to know their personal likes/loves and learn that these are valued by a caring, supportive and encouraging carer.
Strengthen the mind through the senses
~ Sight ~ What can you see? (colours, shapes, lines, patterns)
~ Smell ~ Can you smell anything?
~ Touch ~ How does it feel? (soft, smooth, bumpy, spikey etc.)
~ Hear ~ What sounds does it or can it make
IMPORTANT TO KNOW
~ Taste ~ I do not encourage children to taste anything in nature, to protect them from potential poisonous plants. Our rule is that you should only eat what adults say is ok, to prevent self discovery that can cause potential harm. Generally, anything red in nature is a warning sign. If you don't know what it is then please refrain from exploring the taste sense.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year to observe the changes in our environments as the weather gets cooler. We encourage that all discoveries are found and collected from the forest floor,
and that taonga (treasures) that are found growing or on trees etc, are left in nature to continue its life cycle. Autumn has lots of special ground treasures such as fallen leaves, acorns, walnuts & more.