• Go on field trips to open spaces, campgrounds, parks, zoos,
gardens, farms, lakes, and beaches. A parent once opened up her
garden to my class and gave us a tour while she shared her vast
knowledge of nature. Then she gave all of the children their own
plant. • Name and adopt a tree outside of the classroom window. Take
photos of it in fall, winter, and spring, and put those photos in a
nature journal. In the fall, make bookmarkers and leaf rubbings.
In the winter, make bird feeders and observe the birds. At the end
of winter, count the days until the buds burst, and then celebrate
spring. On warm days, hold story time under the shade of the tree.
Record and place all of the changes that the children observe into
the nature journal.
• Add a fish bowl to your space. Watching fish in an aquarium can
decrease blood pressure.
• Expand your sensory play by replacing the usual water or sand with
some of these items in the water table:
a collection of river rocks
milkweeds birdseed (no peanuts)
seashells cedar chips
various types of bark
• Add live plants to your space.
• Collect rainwater for indoor and outdoor plants.
• Instead of heavy bags of potting soil, use peat pellets (available
at garden centers) to start flowers, vegetables, and plants. The
children can transplant them to a larger container or outside after
the plants mature.
• Try to get people from the community to bring in unusual animals or
pets for a visit, and talk about the attention and care that animals
need. Creating Calm 21