In the “Exploring nature with children booklet

Spending time exploring nature with your children is about having fun and encouraging their natural curiosity.

Take time to pause and look more closely. Welcome questions and ask them yourself. You don't need to have all the answers. Ask open ended questions to encourage your children's curiosity and thinking whether at home or out and about:

  • Why do you think…?
  • Where do you think…?
  • What else might be affected…?
  • What do you think has happened here?
  • How are they alike? How are they different?
  • What do you think would happen if…?
  • How could we find out more?

Titiro mai!

Exploring the river. Photo: DOC/Herb Christophers.
What can we find?

Play "what if . . . ?" games

"What if" generates alternatives, opens up possibilities and encourages inventiveness and experimentation.

You can play 'what if' on car trips, while going on walks or wherever:

  • What if this was 1821 instead of 2021?
  • What if there were no worms?
  • What if there were no trees, no bees?
  • What if we stayed out here the night?

Encourage alternative thinking, experimentation and 'mistakes' – mistakes are really learning opportunities after all.

Use "what if" to help your child with problem solving, designing, and reading stories. Keep it optimistic and playful.

Remember you are there to encourage and support – let them make their own discoveries.

The best thing you can spend on your children is time

Investigating a hollow tree. Photo: DOC/Adrienne Grant.
Investigating a hollow tree.

Taking time with your children and allowing space for play and curiosity will turn a walk into an adventure. Slow down and explore - notice the little things as well as the big.

Listen and quietly watch the rhythms of nature. Lie down with your kids in long grass or under a tree, you will be surprised what you start to notice and hear once you tune in to the natural world around you.

Ko te wā te mea nui
mo ngā tamariki!

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