“Seeing, not just looking”
Nature Play. It’s what we are all about here at Karana but in all honesty, I have struggled to get really engaged in this. I suppose it has always been that way for me, even from a child I was always more of an ‘indoors’ kind of girl. I love seeing the children outside and enjoy seeing the freedom in their play as they explore and engage with the beautiful world around us. Yes, I do find the world very beautiful but I suppose i am more of a observer than a ‘hands on’ nature person, you could say.
I have been challenging myself to get engaged more in nature play and take a leaf out of the kids’ books. Getting involved, getting dirty and seeing the world as a child does. The wonder and awe of it all. Not just looking but seeing. We are very, very lucky to have the amazing world around us and if we really get to understand it then, wow! How amazing things could be.
A team member, who isn’t with us at the moment would do amazing things with the children and the environment (It is a passion of hers). Simply looking at leaves, plants, bugs, feather and other bits and bobs and bring it to life, not only for the kids around her but for me. I would think to myself “Wow! What a simply idea, I wish I had of thought of something like that!” and then share the experience with her and the children who came to be involved.
Ok, so its my turn to step up to the plate and give it a go. Try to change my perspective and actually see rather than just look. Over the past couple of years, I have gained a love for simple white feathers. Feathers have been a big feature in our room over past months and the children love to recognise the different ones around our area. I often, am told that the birds flying around are ‘Blue faced Honey Eaters’, “Rainbow Lorikeets’, Kookaburras’ etc. just from the feathers they find. While we don’t often find simple white feathers, we do find some lovely brown and black ones. Sometimes with little bits of green or orange on them too. I love the excitement that comes from these simple observations and how their interest and love for it has grown. Even months after the initial learning that was happening from this area, the kids still are so excited by their discoveries in our back yard.
Incorporating nature items into everyday play and experiences is another way for children to discover what is around them. Going on a treasure hunt to find leaves, feathers, rocks or gum nuts can help to encourage imagination and self expression. We really have been enjoying collecting these sort of items and expressing ourselves in different ways. Using the items for transient art play, gluing, threading, making hangings and sharing them with our friends. I think encouraging the children to share their love for nature with their friends is a great way to share their passions and interest for it. We collected a bucket of feathers over the past few days and while we have not decided on what we are going to do with them just yet, the thought process is in place and I am sure it will be simply beautiful. Through discussions and sharing time with the kids while creating these pieces for our friends, I think that, in its simplicity, we are sharing the beauty of the world around us and spreading the joy with others. It’s a journey that I am happy to share with the children and am enjoying being corrected in my way of viewing nature and the world around us. Seeing and not just looking…it has made me think and I hope I don’t ever forget it.
– Natalee Blair