One of the benefits for the nature play is gaining safety assessment skill. Nature encourages children to be aware of their own body and surroundings.
Are you a lawnmower parent who tries to provide a clear path for your child? (i am guilty…) Of course, there are times when we have to intervene in a high risk situation. What we want is our children to gain the skill for their well-being.
In this article, I’ll talk about the benefit of nature play for children: safety assessment skills.
How children gain safety assessment skill in nature?
Since we are a part of nature, the best place to practice is right there in it. It encourages children to use all five senses to figure out this exciting world. This stimulation is the key to develop their safety assessment skill.
Unlike a playground, designed by adults, nature provides a variety of options and challenges for children. It is like a buffet, they can pick and choose what/how much they want! That makes nature the best place to practice the skill.
How can we support our children?
First of all, make sure that you are comfortable in the area. Your back yard or a nearby park (a place where you are familiar with) is a good start. If you are not comfortable, you can always register your child in a nature focused program.
Let’s say your children want to climb up a tree. What you need to do first is safety assessment. Is the tree strong enough? What about the surface for landing? Avoid things that are clearly unsafe like a rock underneath or flimsy branches.
Once you complete the check, let your children explore. Instead of telling them what to do, ask them a question like “Is your body comfortable?” or simply tell them to be careful. Doing so, they understand what they need to look out for.
What you can do
Always make sure you stand by and offer help if they need. Eventually, kids gain both climbing skills and confidence. This is what we want for our children so they won’t need training wheels (our help) anymore!
Learning opportunities for safety assessment skill
In fact, children know how to learn in nature. All you need to do is follow their lead, and ask some questions. What you are doing here is encouraging them to pay close attention to the things around them.
Water temperature – simply let them use their hands/feet. For example you can ask “Tell me about the water” or “How do you feel?”
Depth of water – if it’s clear, ask them to see. If it’s not clear ask them how they can find out. For instance, using a stick is a great way to find the depth.
Walking on wet rocks/logs – Again, ask them what happens when logs/rocks are wet.
Jumping off a big rock – simply ask, “Is your body comfortable?”
In conclusion, children are more capable than you think. Asking questions simply makes them aware of their own body and surroundings. Just imagine a big smile on your child’s face ….”I did it!” All we want is them to be aware of their well-beings for the future.
Nature definitely helps children gain the safety assessment skill. So, it’s time to connect with nature!