This post is a little different in the respect that although lots of fun play is involved, so too are crucial experiences I feel every child should have. You may not agree with me but I believe it is these experiences that will nurture a thirst for learning. You can show children lots of things in a book, on TV or in photographs but until they actually experience it, feel it, hear it, see it and smell it, they won’t fully appreciate the wonderful world around them.
I remember teaching a class of children years ago and reading them a story about the seaside. I was so sad when most of the children said that they had never been to a beach and felt the sand between their little toes. The thing is, for many of us in the UK, going to the beach is not necessarily an easy or cheap thing to do. So, I can understand there will be lots of children who will have to experience sand between their toes in a sand pit. However, the autumn beauty is there for everyone to enjoy. So, there really are very few reasons as to why our children should not fully experience autumn first hand.
1: Run! Simple, just run in the fresh, crisp autumnal air!
2. Play in the leaves.
Kick them, drag them, throw them, pile them…. just experience the colours, sound, texture and that irresistible crunch!
3. Jump up and down in puddles.
You don’t have to be called Peppa or George to enjoy jumping up and down in muddy puddles! One of the most fun and exciting experiences a little child can have…
… I say little child but soon after this photo was taken, an elderly couple walked towards us with their dog. They explained how they used to love splashing in puddles as children and it was the only thing they had to occupy themselves. I couldn’t quite believe it when they both started jumping up and down with J. To say I had a lump in my throat is an understatement. It was SO lovely. I was too shy to take a photo. Wish I had! J though they were mad!! Bless!
4. Outdoor Art using Natural Materials
Truly experiencing nature and being creative using what he could find around him, was just fabulous. J loved his house made of twigs and told me the story of ‘The three little pigs’ as we made it together.
The finished masterpiece…
5. Run in the Rain!
This has to be my favourite. J couldn’t wait to ‘taste’ the rain and swiftly ran off; jumping, skipping and squealing with genuine delight.
If you can’t run in the rain as a child, when can you? I’m was a huge ‘Friends’ fan. Forgive me for those of you who have no idea what I’m about to mention but when I saw J running in the rain with no inhibitions and happiness oozing out of every pore, I had a flash of Pheobe (from Friends) running with Rachel through the park. Running as a child because it was so much more fun! Oh, how right she was! Hilarious!
‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ is one of J’s favourite stories. So when I started chanting to the rhythm of that book, ‘we’re going on a leaf hunt, we’re going to find a red one, on this autumn day, we’re not scared!’ J ran and screamed, ‘ I’m going to find one! ‘
7. Role Play in a Tree House.
J found the perfect height (for him) tree with enough room under to pretend it was his house. G loved watching J hide and pop out from under the tree.
8. Wildlife Watch
We like spotting squirrels in the park and J is desperate to ‘catch’ one. I think he thinks it would be our pet! This is the closest we got to this squirrel before it darted off with J saying, ‘come here little squirrel, I won’t hurt you!’
9. Reflection Dancing
J loves splashing in puddles but he also enjoys watching and dancing with his reflection. He also occasionally… ok always, attempts to stamp on him!
This is great for children to experience Autumn/Fall and actually watch and catch the leaves as they fall from the trees.
So, get out this Autumn and enjoy the world through the eyes of a child! It’s amazing!