Free play is beneficial to all kids, but nature-based play is even better because it allows children to develop a range of science, math, and engineering skills.
As we move into spring and the days become warmer and longer, it’s only natural to want to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. What better time to take the kids and head to a local park as spring unfolds around us? Children are spending half the amount of time outdoors as children did in the ’70s and ’80s. Their free time has declined dramatically over the last 20 years and the amount of unstructured activity has decreased by 50 percent.…
We’re led to believe that our kids need to be scheduled, their time accounted for. But, what if they really need is freedom. Blank space. A time to be little.
Earlier this month I found myself looking at old photos from my childhood. I was reminded of how simple life was. I wasn’t enrolled, entertained, scheduled, supervised, coached, or assessed in adult-directed activities to be happy. I took my time. I collected sticks. Climbed trees. Rode my bike. Got dirty, and had FUN! Taking that step back in time left me craving more. More of that same, simple, beautiful life. It was a wonderful reminder that my own children need a slow childhood as well.
But, in our modern world, I’m acutely aware that I’m the odd parent out. And that makes it hard. It’s so sad to see all of our parks completely empty during the day (even in the summer) because kids are too busy with organized sports, gymnastics, music classes, etc. It’s not the organized sports and activities themselves that destroy creativity but the lack of downtime. Even two hours per week of unstructured play has the ability to boost children’s creativity to above-average levels!
One of the things that stop a lot of people from simplifying is fear. Fear that their kids might miss out on something. Fear of being judged for not “socializing” with other children. Fear that we may be impending our children’s success. Fear of what others may think.
It takes a brave parent to trust that simplifying our children’s lives and giving them down time to play and connect with their families is what they really need!
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.”
Science has always been a favorite subject around here. We love the hands-on learning aspect that it entails, which is one of the many reasons why we have greatly enjoyed Dr. Jay L. Wile’s science curriculum! Science in the Beginning is the first book in the hands-on, multilevel elementary science series that introduces scientific concepts using history as its guide. The beginning of history is given in the Bible’s creation account, and this book uses the days of creation as a way of introducing a wide range of scientific concepts including the nature of light, energy conservation, the properties of air and water, introductory botany, our solar system, basic zoology, and some aspects of human anatomy and physiology. As the students learn about these scientific concepts, they are constantly reminded of the Creator who fashioned the marvels they are studying.
Another HUGE reason why we love this series is the lab kits that go with it! Although many of the items may be easy to find at home or stores close by, this kit makes it a lot easier to do the experiments by having the items gathered together all in one box ready to use. It’s been a great timesaver and actually makes all the experiments doable. Win!