Early Springtime Observations

April 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Outdoor Fun

Nature

Nature (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Getting back in touch with nature is an enjoyable, healthy activity for children and adults. Children are usually fascinated by nature, and enjoy being outside. Adults often find observing nature to be a healing and peaceful activity. With spring right around the corner, now is a good time to teach your children some of the interesting changes that are taking place this time of year.

Spring is brief – there is a rather short window in which to observe spring’s changes, so some planning is required to capture these changes. Here are some ideas to get you started in your nature observations this spring.

* Find a spot to observe. This can be done in your own yard, and it does not have to be a large area. It can be just one square foot or a whole garden, but it should be a low-traffic area so that you are observing nature and not someone’s gardening efforts. You also don’t want people walking over your natural area.

* Once you choose the spot, note how it looks the day you begin your observations. Use a digital camera or garden journal (or a combination of the two) to record details about what you see. If you enjoy drawing, you and your children can make sketches of the area. Some questions to ask as you begin your observations are:

-Is the soil muddy, dry, sandy, etc.?
-Are there moss or rocks present?
-Are there any plants present at all, such as grass or weeds?

* Visit your area daily. If you like, set up a chair or bench nearby. Using your recording methods, sketch, photograph, and take notes on any changes you observe. If birds or other animals visit the area, note that as well as any changes in plants or soil. (Don’t be tempted to put out food to attract animals, however – you are just observing, not interfering.) Even if you don’t note any changes, write that down as well.

* Consider getting a field guide to the plants and wildflowers in your area, and identify the various plants as they grow. If the plants bloom, note when they bloom and for how long, and write down the species if you and your children identify it.

Your children will become attuned to small details in their special spot, a skill that is applicable in other areas of life. You will all be surprised at how much change occurs in nature over a short period of time, even though it is gradual.

When spring turns to summer, go over your observations and see how much the original spot has changed. The beauty of observing carefully is that you are making note of details not discerned in just random, passing glances. You will see the gradual greening of the spot, the blooming of flowers, and changes in the soil from dry to wet, or from packed to loose. This can be a special, annual activity for your whole family.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why Gardening Is Good for Your Health and Life

June 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles

Part of a parterre in an English garden. Photo...
Image via Wikipedia

Gardening is a fantastic activity in many ways. It’s a great form of exercise, stress reliever, creative outlet, and just plain old good fun. Studies have shown that regular exposure to nature and fresh air is good for us. Not only will you feel energized and refreshed after a gardening session, but you’ll also feel a great sense of achievement.

Here are a few other reasons why gardening is a great all-around exercise:

#1 – Stress relief. Many of us lead very stressful lives. Gardening is a good way of relieving that stress. It’s a quiet, gentle activity that also helps you connect with nature and clear your mind. There’s something very nurturing about getting close the earth and having a part in helping something grow.

#2 – Great for joints and flexibility. As we get older, so do our joints and mobility. Gardening is a great option for keeping your joints supple and flexible without too much pressure. Simple exercises like bending, lifting and light digging will help your flexibility and muscle tone. All of this will lead to improved health and quality of life.

#3 – Keeps you busy. If you already have a busy schedule then gardening may be something you fit in on the weekends or in short spurts. However, if you’re out of work or retired, keeping a garden is a great way of staying active, fit and healthy. You’ll also feel a wonderful sense of achievement when you see the fruit of your labor.

#4 – Great social activity. Gardening is becoming increasingly popular. Many people are joining community garden projects and schemes. This is a great way to bond with your community. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for swapping home-grown produce and teaching your kids and family about healthy eating. Gardening is a great link for friendships. It’s a good way to meet like-minded people doing something you enjoy.

#5 – Great for children. Children are naturally geared to love gardening. They have an inbuilt instinct for connecting with the earth around them. Give a young child a small shovel and a vegetable patch and they may happily dig for hours. Exposure to gardening also shows kids the importance of food and healthy eating, as well as caring for their environment. Many schools now have gardening clubs and projects to help children get involved as gardeners too.

On the surface gardening seems like a great health activity, and it is, but there are also many other wonderful benefits. Along with getting plenty of fresh air and exercise you can relieve stress, make new friends, show your kids the importance of our environment and keep your joints and muscles supple. It’s a fantastic all-around activity to enjoy.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...