Archives
January 17, 2018
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
Officer involved shooting: Suspect wanted to be shot by RP Public Safety officers City of Cotati: Honorary Mayor Anabel Dane RP aims to curb exposure to secondhand smoke RP approves amendment to speed up housing development Community helps TMS class reach goal Whatever happened to young newspaper carriers? CERT involvement the answer to better disaster preparedness? Wise money moves for parents under 40 2017 Home invasion: burglar arrested after entering home and committing sexual assault Holiday robbery and thefts DUI doesn’t just mean booze when behind the wheel New State laws that impact California’s law enforcement agencies New laws for California motorists Fraud Alert: Fire Debris Asteroid near Jupiter named after Sonoma State 5 Helpful Ways to Actively Assist your Community Hard hitting flu season comes early to Sonoma County Rohnert Park woman caught in crossfire of gunfire during Las Vegas massacre at Mandalay Bay Give blood now, save lives month To our valued customers: Warmer, drier weather is not unusual for December, local experts say Holiday travelers take to the road and sky A cup of ‘joe’ with RP Public Safety officers SMART’s successful toy drive Seasons Greetings Mayor installation ceremony RPPS warns about package theft Cotati passes temporary commercial cannabis ordinance Sonoma County helping to solve labor and housing shortage in local Sonoma vineyards To our valued customers Parents and teachers accuse school district of retaliation

Getting outdoors with your preschooler

By:
April 29, 2010
It’s never too early to teach your children about nature

If you’ve recently taken a walk along the Laguna de Santa Rosa in Cotati or Rohnert Park, you may have come across a group of preschoolers armed with butterfly nets, magnifying glasses, or bug boxes, observing wildlife right in our own backyard.

The children were participating in “nature discovery class” through Nature Tots, a nonprofit organization that started in 2008. The classes were started to cultivate “a love of nature of our youngest citizens, through direct exposure to the outdoors and by encouraging and facilitating their innate curiosity of the natural world.”

While the classes are a great way for young children and their parents to get outdoors and learn about the nature in their own community, founder Stephanie Derammelaere is quick to point out that you don’t need a class to introduce nature to your child.

 “Almost all children seem to be born with an innate curiosity and wonder of the natural world,” says Derammelaere. “Every spider, rock, and tree can capture a child’s attention and imagination.”

Derammelaere starts with a few suggestions for parents wanting to get children outdoors and excited about discovering nature:

Slow down your pace
Let your preschooler take the lead and stop with them to observe that leaf, insect, or rock they find so interesting. What may seem mundane to us can be riveting to a young child and by allowing them the time to be mesmerized by an object, we sometimes reawaken our own wonder of nature.

 “In the Nature Tots classes we sometimes have to keep the nature walk on schedule, to get back on time to do our craft and so forth,” said Derammelaere, “but I encourage parents to take walks with their children without a certain destination or schedule in mind. You may only walk half a block but young children learn by simply observing the world around them. Our current lifestyle can be so hurried, many children (and adults) don’t have time to appreciate the beauty around them.”

Change your child’s perspective

Give your child a magnifying glass, a pair of binoculars, or a butterfly net to try out on your next excursion. These can help foster your child’s observation skills and help them see nature from a different perspective. Encourage them to use their magnifying glass underneath a leaf or log, or peer into tree branches with the binoculars to see what birds are perching there.

 “Children love being little ‘scientists’ and giving them observation tools will encourage them to make discoveries. Make sure the tools aren’t distracting - you don’t want it to be about the ‘stuff’ - but as long as they are using one thing at a time in the appropriate way, it can be exciting for them to see things in different perspectives.”

Let them get dirty

Sometimes to really enjoy nature you just have to be in it.  “One of the best walks I ever took with my children was to Crane Creek one rainy day last winter,” says Derammelaere. “It didn’t take long to find out that my children’s rubber boots and slickers were no match for the deep puddles on the trail that day. While my first reaction was ‘oh, don’t get too muddy!’ I let go of the urge to keep my kids clean and we had a blast ‘making music’ (tap dancing) in the puddles! My children returned home with mud from head to toe, yet while the mud can be washed off, that great memory will last for a long time. Now I’m always prepared with extra outfits in the car.”

The easiest way to enjoy nature with your children? Just get outside! Children really don’t require much - you don’t need to take a trip to Yosemite to take their breath away. The beauty of a snail shell, a colorful autumn leaf or an intricate spider web is not lost on our youngest naturalists.

For more information or to sign up for Nature Tots’ free e-newsletter for nature activity ideas, eco-tips for kids, and other nature-related community events, e-mail stephanie@naturetots.com, call (707) 333-1331 or visit www.naturetots.org.