Children may complain about going to school every day, but there's a way to sneak in something educational at other times. Family nature fun can teach as well as be enjoyable for everyone involved. The following ideas may be perfect to get your children learning and having fun at the same time.
Springtime is a great time to take your children to a petting zoo. You can take advantage of their interest in baby animals to teach them about the different families of animals. They may not remember that cats and dogs are mammals, but you'll be planting seeds of knowledge that they may recall when they begin learning about animals in their future education.
Teach your children about how seeds are dispersed by taking them on a hike through a field or grassy area. you'll need extra adult sized socks you won't mind if they get dirty. Have your children place the extra socks on the outsides of their shoes and then ask them to walk around the field or grassy area for a couple of minutes. Let them run, skip, or hop to their heart's content. Then bring them back and have them carefully remove the socks over a paper bag or a piece of white craft paper.
Your children will notice seeds that were on their socks. Ask them to draw pictures of the seeds and then discuss how seeds attach to clothing as one way of moving from one area to another. You can also explain other ways seeds are dispersed and how they grow in new areas.
Make a rainbow:
This is probably one of the easiest ways to teach your children about the visible light spectrum. Take a junk CD out in the sunshine. Ask your children to hold the silver side up and move it until they can see the rainbow. Can they identify the different colors of the rainbow?
Back inside, fill a shallow pan with water. Place it near a window with direct sunlight. Put a mirror into the pan and slant it toward the sunlight so that it creates a refracted beam of light which makes a rainbow. Hold a piece of white paper up to the refracted sunbeam and watch the children's faces as they see how you've made a rainbow. You can then teach them the pneumonic device "Roy G Biv" to help them remember the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
Teaching doesn't have to be boring and dry. By incorporating educational family nature fun, you can pass along knowledge while your children are enjoying themselves. What better combination is there for encouraging your children to learn?