Foraging The Rainbow, a Nature School Activity
Last week I walked out onto the farm to notice my mom and Tad carrying woven baskets and excitedly yelling to each other across the yard. “I found red!” he would say, plucking a leave or flower from the herb garden, and placing it carefully into his basket like treasure. They were searching for all of the colors of the rainbow in our yard, something that I admittedly would not have thought to conjure up on my own. What a fun game! I joined in, grabbing my camera, and felt the need to document this activity to share.
Once we gathered as many colors of the rainbow we could find (purple was the most difficult to find, and blue as well) we laid them out to look at. I always try to look at educational activities as play. Homeschooling is something that I go back and forth on because I love the simplicity of it, the creative dreaming that it has the potential to invoke in a child, even in a parent. I also did enjoy my experience, somewhat, attending a public school. It shaped me. I do not know what I may have been like if I had not gone through it. I also do not think that Tad, in particular, is a child that would enjoy homeschooling. He needs interaction with other kids his age, and he needs to learn to listen to adults that are not related to him. So when I see an educational opportunity, I treat it as play so that he not only enjoys himself immensely but he does not dread learning about the topics that I know the most about. He can escape to them if he wants and learn something.
We asked if he wanted to touch all of the pieces, and as he did, we asked what they felt like. Is this one squishy? Soft? Poky? Prickly? We named the colors together and smelled them. Asking Tad to describe the scents was interesting to me. Many of the things he smelled he said were “stinky” or he often said “like lavender” which I was confused about, but hey, if that’s what he smells! Perhaps to us he meant “earthy,” but I expect it will be some time before describing scents becomes better. Especially considering most times I ask him to smell something he breathes out instead of in.
This activity could have the potential to be done each season, if you wanted. Of course there would be times of the year that it may be more difficult than others depending on where you live. Winter, I know, will be a challenge for us! Red and green and browns will be abundant. If you are looking for something relaxing to try with your child out in nature, then I would highly suggest this. I am pretty terrible about forcing Tad to do more elongated games, but a scavenger hunt seemed to peak his interest for the age that he is (3.5). His favorite plants to touch were the dahlia and amaranth pod. He said his favorite of all was the red flowers that came from our pineapple sage or our Ameraucana hen’s blue egg.
Do you enjoy teaching your children about nature? What activities are your favorites for toddlers?