How playgrounds can help children learn about nature
Getting outside for a change of pace in lessons can be a great way to help children learn and it’s the perfect place to learn more about nature and the environment. There’s lots for children to learn and these lessons can be made easier with specially-designed areas and features in the playground.
Learn to care for plants
Plants are vital to our survival, from the oxygen they produce to the food that we and many animals eat. Teaching children how to look after plants can create different hobbies, as well as an understanding of how plants work. Growing fruit and vegetables in planters in your playground can be a fantastic way to do this, as the children can then eat them and have tangible proof of their success. Popular options would be sweetcorn or tomatoes, as these plants can grow quite large and will be interesting to watch as they develop.
Observe insects in their natural habitats
Setting up a wildflower garden to attract bees and other insects can be a wonderful idea. The flowers will add a splash of colour to your playground and you can teach children how the flowers reproduce and why bees are so important for the survival of some of our favourite products. There will be many more tiny creatures who will be living there and they can all be studied by the children, who will learn to appreciate them more.
Learn about other countries
There are lots of differences between countries and their environments – some have deserts, some have rainforests and some feature landscapes of ice and snow. Learning about these other countries and how their occupants survive and thrive in these surroundings is important for children. Don’t forget about the variety of weather that each area has, including monsoons, hurricanes, snow storms and dust storms. How much detail you give out will depend on the age of the children but you can teach the basics of the water cycle and some information about the different types of weather. If you include a world map in your playground, you can help to show how these environments are created through their positions on the globe and proximity to other elements.
Discover proper waste disposal
If your playground allows children to eat outside, then you’ll need to include some bins for the litter. This will allow you to introduce recycling for different materials and food waste which will help children to learn about the environmental impact of some of the foods they consume. Don’t forget that all those apple cores and banana skins in the food waste bin can become the compost for your plants, which will really help with some of the other lessons!
Incorporate nature in your activities
You can include elements of nature in your other activities, like P.E. and sport. By using our Nature Trail playground marking, you’ll have the children interacting with various elements of nature, such as butterflies, branches and flowers – keeping it in mind for their actions outside of the activity. This will improve their empathy with the environment and encourage better choices. You could also use our Phonics Flower Bed or Flower Hopscotch.
For more information on how our playground markings can help children learn about nature, get in touch with our team today!