3 TIPS FOR NATURE SCAVENGER HUNTS THAT ENHANCE THE CHILD’S ABSORBENT MIND
Have you ever heard your child say something and think to yourself “where did they learn that!?” Children take in everything. From the ages of 0-6 years old, children have what Dr. Maria Montessori called the “Absorbent Mind”. The absorbent mind refers to the child’s capacity for taking in the whole of his environment simply by existing within it. It is an absorptive quality that is not yet based on selectivity; whatever is available to the child in his or her environment will be soaked up, much like a sponge absorbing moisture, through each of their senses. To know something we have to truly experience it and the senses are the avenues through which this information is absorbed.
Because children are constantly absorbing information, it is important to help them name and categorize things. When we bring attention to and name things in nature, we are giving meaning to what is universally true and can be observed around the world, regardless of time and place. For example, rough is rough, and smooth is smooth. Below are a few nature-inspired scavenger hunt ideas to help children to organize information, name things and become more aware of all that their senses are taking in.
TIP#1: Seeking Textures
If your child is enamored with textures, you can ask them to go on a hunt to find something soft, something wet, or smooth. Staple a few pieces of paper together and make a little book for them to tape things into or draw pictures!
Take your child on a silent nature walk and encourage them to use all of their senses while walking. Ask them what their experience was like when you are done ~ you may be surprised to hear the things they noticed! Offer them a scavenger hunt of things they can see, touch, taste, feel and smell in nature such as the smell of fresh-cut grass, the songs of the birds, or the sight of clouds moving across the sky.
TIP #3: Finding Colors
If your child is learning their colors, you can reinforce this outside by asking them to find something blue or green. Heighten their interest by making them a palette out of cardboard with several splotches of different colored paint or cutting up paint chips from the hardware store and asking them to clip like-colored things to them.
Nature provides the richest opportunities for children to absorb so much valuable information through their senses especially when you add simple nature-inspired scavenger hunts.
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