Related IEL Resources
- Project Guide: All About Gardens
- Tip Sheet: CSI: Child Scientist Investigates!
- Tip Sheet: Encouraging Scientific Thinking: Rain or Shine
- Tip Sheet: Get Growing: Learning about Seeds
- Tip Sheet: Get Growing: Planning a Garden with Young Children
- Tip Sheet: Natural Illinois: Birds
- Tip Sheet: Natural Illinois: Butterflies and Moths
- Tip Sheet: Natural Illinois: Frogs and Toads
- Tip Sheet: Helping the Often-Angry Child
- Tip Sheet: Natural Illinois: Leaves Are All Around
- Tip Sheet: Natural Illinois: The Trees You See
- Tip Sheet: Natural Illinois: Mammals
- Tip Sheet: Natural Illinois: Rock On!
- Tip Sheet: Natural Illinois: Insects
- Tip Sheet: Outdoor Play: Weather or Not
- Tip Sheet: Outdoor Field Trips with Preschoolers: Deciding Where to Go
- Blog: Go Outdoors and Explore: Build Upon Young Children’s Natural Curiosity
- Project Example: Cracks and Holes Project
- Project Example: Garden Project Sprouts From Simple Question: “What’s That?”
Related Web Resources
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Education Division
The Department of Natural Resources web site contains information about educational materials for use in the classroom, teacher workshops, and more. Illinois Department of Natural Resources SMARTBoards™ Lessons includes lessons linked to the Illinois Early Learning Standards. Lessons include A to Z from a Tree and A Year with Wildlife. Wings, Stings, and Leggy Things: Insects of Illinois is a booklet, which can be downloaded in PDF form, that includes a diagram of an insect and insect life cycles.
Let’s Go Outside! Books for Young Children about the Natural World
This list is intended for use by teachers and others interested in finding books for children and young teens about the natural world. The age range is given after each title so teachers can choose age-appropriate materials for preschoolers.
Meet a Tree
This article on Education World suggests ways to help children explore trees. Make Your Own Leaf Book is another activity guide that discusses how children can make books to help them remember their leaf observations.
Have You Ever Met a Tree?
This site developed by the University of Michigan includes suggestions related to observing and documenting observations of a tree. This article on Family TLC suggests ways that parents can watch and discuss birds with their children.
The Nature Explore website provides classroom design services, workshops and conferences, natural products for classrooms, and family resources. This site is also encourages networking and research.
Articles for Families on Nature and the Outdoors
The National Association for the Education of Young Children website provides many articles for families about how to engage in nature activities with children. More articles on the NAEYC website also include Play in a Puddle on a Rainy Day and Engaging Toddlers in Nature Play.
25 Nature Play Ideas for Early Childhood Centers
This brochure by Green Hearts Inc. provides a rationale for why children should spend more time outdoors and why nature play is the best type of play. It also provides 25 ideas for incorporating nature play in early childhood classrooms.
A Parent’s Guide to Nature Play
This article on the Natural Start Alliance website addresses why outdoor play is important and ideas for how parents can encourage outdoor play among their children. The website also provides resources, research, and articles related to the importance of nature play for children.
Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature
Many children spend the majority of their day in childcare. This infosheet created by the Natural Start Natural Learning Initiative discusses the advantages and tips to connect children to the outdoors while they are at childcare.
Science, Language and Literacy, and Math
These five-minute videos put together by the Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center explain how educators can teach concepts (science, language & literacy, and math) using nature. The videos explore using nature indoors and outdoors.
Discovering Nature with Young Children
Ingrid Chalufour and Karen Worth
Redleaf Press, 2003
Be a Bee and Other Approaches to Introducing Young Children to Entomology
James A. Danoff-Burg
Young Children, 2002
Preschoolers Play with Bamboo
Teaching Young Children, 2016
Becoming a Nature Explore Classroom
Martha Bass-Nichols and Kevin Carnes
Teaching Young Children, 2013
Preschool Play Plans: Mud- Luscious Play
Blakely Bundy, Diane E. Levin, and members of TRUCE
Teaching Young Children, 2018
Our Proud Heritage: Outdoor Play Is Essential to Whole Child Development
Joe Frost and John A. Sutterby
Young Children, 2017
Children in the Garden: A Place to Encounter Natural and Social Diversity
John Nimmo and Beth Hallett
Young Children, 2008
Spotlight on Young Children and Nature
National Association for the Education of Young Children. 2011
Experiencing Nature With Young Children: Awakening Delight, Curiosity, and a Sense of Stewardship
Alice Sterling Honig
National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2015
A Little Bit of Dirt
The Innovation Press, 2016
Out the Door, Let’s Explore!
Redleaf Press, 2009
The Great Outdoors: Advocating for Natural Spaces for Young Children
Mary S. Rivkin and Deborah Schein
National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2014
I Love Dirt: 52 Activities to help you and your kids discover the wonders of nature
Roost Books, 2008
Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators
Stenhouse Publishers, 2008
15 Minutes Outside: 365 ways to get out of the house and connect with your kids
Rebecca P. Cohen
Exploring Water with Young Children
Ingrid Chalufour and Karen Worth
Redleaf Press, 2005
Philomel Books, 1998
Greenwillow Books, 2009
Greenwillow Books, 2010
Are You a Ladybug?
Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries
The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Educators
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, 2014
Philomel Books, 2015
There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom on the Lake
Philomel Books, 2018
From the Garden: A Counting Book About Growing Food
Picture Window Books, 2004
Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature
Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book
Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2016
A Walk in the Forest
Princeton Architectural Press, 2017