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My husband and I have had the chance to travel different parts of the globe, but there is no place we love to adventure more than the sites and trails of Arkansas.
We used much of our social distancing time in 2020 to tackle some of our Arkansas Bucket list items and built a new list. I noticed that some of the development lessons for preschoolers that we had been working on at home expanded as we adventured the outdoors throughout Arkansas.
It’s spring, and at my house, we all have the fever to get outside and play as much as possible. And, whether you are homeschooling children, navigating a hybrid or work from home experience, or stay-at-home parent developing your preschool curriculum, there are HUGE benefits from taking the learning outdoors. 2020 showed us that our mental health increases significantly through exposure to sunshine and vitamin D, experiencing nature through all our senses, getting outside and moving, and changing our environment throughout the day.
Spring has sprung, and the wildflowers are in full bloom, it’s time to get outside!
There is no better place than the outdoors to see and learn difference and variety when it comes to colors, shapes, sizes and found objects. For toddlers and preschoolers, they are putting shape and form to the world around them for the first time. Exploring outdoors gives a new variety to call out and recognize from their surroundings.
At the toddler and preschool age, children are seeking the opportunity to experience independence and creative play. Their minds are starting to form and process consequences and move toward imagination on their own. It’s essential to listen to what they are saying and navigate the conversation and experience to let them dream and imagine. Slow the process down, explore the environment through all their senses and lead the discussion narrative.
Most of us are experiential learners. Getting outside and discovering the specific world of trails and camping allows children to experience a change from their typical safe home environment. Cliffs, signs, critters, and narrow paths might be new to a preschool-aged child. Still, through consistent exposure, they overcome the anxiety of newness and develop life skills to help in professional experiences and avoid dangerous situations for the rest of their lives.
Many childhood professionals would advocate that social skills are as essential as cognitive milestones. And future employers would tell you the soft skills of social interaction are the most significant workforce issue they currently face. Finding ways to creatively expose young children to groups and interacting with peers and adults holds long-term benefits.
Trails to Explore in Arkansas
With a 3-year-old boy in tow, we spent much of our time searching for a T-Rex in the woods, but Arkansas is known to hide dinosaurs, too!
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