A dear reader from Down Under recently passed this link onto me: http://www.greenheartsinc.org/Parents__Guide.html .
This site really has wonderful suggestions for creating nature “kidscapes” – and even if you don’t have your own yard, this section has valuable ideas for the types of experiences in nature that would be helpful in developing the twelve senses for young children. This website also has this document: http://www.greenheartsinc.org/uploads/25_Easy_Nature_Play_Ideas_for_Preschool_Yards.pdf which is more specific to preschoolers. I suggest printing out both and putting them in your Homemaking Notebook (if you have one) for planning purposes for fall and also as just general good reminders!
In this document: (http://www.greenheartsinc.org/uploads/Green_Hearts_Design_Principles_for_Nature_Play_Spaces.pdf ), I found this terrific quote:
“Think Small. A nature play space for you and your adult friends can be a 50,000-acre wilderness area, but for kids you have to think and plan on their scale! To best engage and excite young children, keep play area paths, structures, plantings, and challenges all significantly smaller than what you might normally envision for your typical visitors. It really doesn’t take much to delight a five-year-old, to whose eyes the world is incalculably larger than it is to yours! More small delights will keep kids playing longer than fewer large-scale ones.”
All I can say is, OH YES! I have fielded this particular question many times over the years: Is Waldorf only for people who live in the country? What do I do since I live in the city?
Waldorf Education and connection to nature is for everyone! I encourage families in the city to think about “adopting” a tree on their block, feeding the birds and putting out a bird feeder or feeding the pigeons. You can also bring nature inside your home. For example, having and observing the lifecycle of caterpillars into butterflies, tadpoles into frogs, worm composting and ant farms, keeping snails in a jar for a day or so so you can closely look in wonder at this fascinating creature. All of these things are wonderful and can be done in any setting – urban, suburban or rural.
Other ideas include container gardening, going a few places annually year after year like apple or berry picking, growing herbs in a windowsill garden, going outside to really feel the rain or the snow, looking for Jack Frost’s paintings on your window…all can be done wherever!
So I guess my thought is so long as you show wonder and reverence for the spot of nature where you are, ants and dandelions count! Nature crafts are also wonderful for the smaller crowd to work hands-on with nature in an artistically pleasing way.
Please do be sure to check www.mainlesson.com for some simple nature stories or make them up! The other resource you might like would be Donna Simmons’ From Nature Stories to Natural Science available here: http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/bookstore-for-waldorf-homeschooling/essential-christopherus-publications/from-nature-stories-to-natural-science.html
This back post on nature is near and dear to my heart; if you have not read it before perhaps you would enjoy it: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/24/connecting-your-children-to-nature/