There are many state and local parks accessible – even within walking distance that you might not even know about. Sitting down with your children to explore your own local maps and destinations is a wonderful opportunity to talk about how our land is preserved and the wonderful ways you can engage with it.
Simple ideas like:
• Unfolding the Map – not via the computer but the experience of touching the paper and running your fingers along the places you can visit – is a tactile experience for a child.
• Holding the Map – Playing a game of “discovery” by calling out places then helping your child search for them on the paper (prompt by referencing colors, what the illustration is, etc).
• Letting your Child take the Lead – When walking a trail and asking questions – welcome all answers because a child’s imagination will come up with wonderful explanations at this age.
These are simple ways to empower your child’s learning process; while you will also help them naturally exercise curiosity, leadership, critical thinking, and relationship management … all through play! For children under 8, these experiences are vital for social and emotional growth and starting within the home is a positive first step for everyone.