How Nature Can Help Your Children Practice Math and Reading
It’s well-known that exposure to nature and the great outdoors is an effective way to reduce stress. Did you know that it’s proven to help improve academic learning too? According to a recent study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers found that short walks outside can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. In addition, students who took part in environmental awareness programs performed better on academic exams that measured critical thinking and creativity. With the official start of summer fast approaching, now is the perfect opportunity to help your children explore the world of nature.
1. Bring the outside world inside
Recent research has shown that children are able to focus better and learn in natural environments. You can create an atmosphere that is more conducive to learning by incorporating plants into your children’s study area and encouraging the use of natural light when your children are working to complete their Kumon homework.
2. Integrate learning with nature
Math is everywhere. It can be found in outdoor activities, such as gardening and fishing and in natural objects, such as shells. For example, the spiral shape exhibited in nautilus shells is called a logarithmic spiral. This natural phenomenon is also depicted in arms of spiral galaxies, and the bands of tropical cyclones such as hurricanes. In addition, the Fibonacci sequence, a numerical pattern beginning with 0 and 1 that continues its sequence with the sum of the previous two numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34…), is displayed in the patterns of pine cones and sunflowers. Geometric shapes such as triangles, cylinders, arcs, and lines are also depicted throughout nature.
You can build nature into your children’s summer learning through selecting and reading books about specific topics such as galaxies, oceans, geology, and plants. Our Recommended Reading List features more books about children exploring nature, such as The Secret Garden and In the Tall, Tall Grass, which will help pique your children’s interest in the natural world.
3. Opt for a change of scenery
Encourage your children to learn outside. Suggest reading books in the backyard or at a nearby park. By planning ahead, you can spend the entire day learning outside. Pack a picnic, books, and some fun outdoor games to play such as hopscotch, jump rope. Check out more outdoor activities from our post about fun math and reading games you can do in the playground.
4. Play with nature
Another way to incorporate nature into your children’s education this summer is to create games specifically designed to increase awareness of their natural surroundings. A scavenger hunt, for example, would be an excellent opportunity for your children to learn about nature. Watch your children explore as they work to identify and locate natural objects, such as dandelion leaves, pine cones, and leaves. You could even ask them to identify objects of specific colors such as orange, red, pink, or yellow.
What outdoor activities will you try with your children this summer?