Keeping kids in touch with nature is so important. I’m working together with 25 other parenting bloggers to cover the whole alphabet for an ABCs of nature series, and today it’s my turn to cover W is for Water.

W is for Water - ways to explore water and nature - part of the ABCs of nature series. My boys love to play with water. It’s definitely one of their favourite substances and just a simple tub of water can keep them happy and entertained!

Simple water play

Lately we have been taking them to the coast a lot, so that they can explore larger expanses of water and appreciate the beauty of the sea and coastal areas.

skimming rocks into the seaSimple pleasures like skimming rocks into the sea or paddling in the ocean all help kids to build a deep connection to nature especially when done often and done from a young age. I grew up near to the sea so I was lucky enough to have easy access to the beach. My boys don’t; they are growing up in London but we make a point of taking them to the coast often. There’s something about quiet beaches that is so calming. Not the busy seaside resorts with the tourists and loud fair ground lights, but a little further down the coast where you can find a peaceful spot to hear the waves crashing, for the children to run with no one else around, to collect shells and stones and feel free. Looking out over the wide expanse of water, for the children to imagine what’s there at the bottom of the sea, further out and in the deep, and what might be on the other side of the water – distant countries that they are yet to explore! (Ok, it’s France – but for young children who haven’t yet been outside of their home country then seeing another country across the sea can really ignite the imagination!)

A playful approach to nature is important. Research has shown that children who engage with nature freely on their own terms will develop a deeper and long lasting connection into adulthood. I loved this article from Expect Adventure: “Leave No Trace” Can Wait and water seems like a perfect element for kids to explore. Playing with water in nature gives such a tactile sensory nature experience, and the amazing thing with water is that the kids can play, splash, paddle, pour and swish it as much as they like but once they leave there will be no trace that they had been so there is really nothing to worry about in that regard anyway!

If you aren’t near enough to the sea, then streams are also a great way for kids to explore water in nature. What child can resist hopping over stones to cross a stream? They really lend themselves to some great active gross motor play in nature.

photo 3If you have the right environment nearby, you could also take the kids fishing. This is not something we have done so far, although Mr T often asks to go fishing! But Joy of the Journeys has some great tips:

fishingTaking kids fishing

For more water in nature ideas why not try these:

Sink-or-Float-with-Nature-by-Teach-PreschoolFloat or sink exploration with nature

kids-pretend-soupNature Soup

pond_dipping_naturePond Dipping

turtlewaterTurtle themed water table

What are your favourite ways to explore with water and nature? Let me know in the comments or share your ideas over on the In The Playroom facebook wall

Check out the full ABCs of nature series here at School Time Snippets