Could your child be the next great explorer, like Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo or Magellan? Maybe.
Children are Natural Explorers
Children are natural explorers. And with these tips, their skills to see and experience new surroundings, will serve to enhance their learning the rest of their life.
This Fall, set some boundaries and let your child discover and the learning will come.
Children use all of their senses to explore what is happening around them; they touch what they can reach, smell nature’s scent and occasionally taste when given permission – or not.
They run, jump, dig, and climb as they discover new places.
To a child, everything is new.
The tiniest things are interesting. In today’s digital world, to explore the outdoors is a chance for your children to actively engage in learning.
5 Suggestions to Help Your Child Explore Long Island, NY Safely
Here are five suggestions to help safely guide your child’s exploration of the great outdoors.
#1. Explore the Outdoors Safely
When asked, join your children in the fun. First, dress appropriately and teach some basic outdoor safety rules. Create simple safety rules appropriate for children and adults.
#2. Let Your Children Choose What To Explore
Let your child choose, without your suggestion if they can. Do they Run, Build, Climb? Even an activity as simple as digging leads to exploration. Children learn how to dig, the way soil feels, the angle of the slope before loose dirt slides back down, and the difference between dry and wet soil.
#3. Ask Your Child Open-Ended Questions
As your child explores, remain involved. Open-ended questions help them tell you more about they way they perceive what they’re discovering. In contrast, closed-ended questions can be answered with a simply yes or no.
Ask about their discoveries, i.e, “What did you find? Oh, a bug? “What does it look like? How does it move?”
Discuss what you see, i.e., the shape of leaves, the soil color, the movement of the grasses.
The more your child observes the world around them the more it will make sense. Discover how to learn through observation is important. Your child will not know the names of the plants and animals they find. But your child will learn through their observations.
#4. Encourage Your Child to Touch, Lift, Look Under
Children need to touch the natural world to better understand it. In some cases, to touch an object with one finger may be fascinating.
The next time, gently nudge a frog or a grasshopper to help your child learn how animals move. When possible, examine an object from all sides.
Look carefully at the underside of a log and then carefully replace it. This helps children to understand that creatures live under the log and to not disturb their habitat is important.
#5. Guide Your Child to Draw their Own Conclusions
The best learning occurs when children come to conclusions for themselves.
It would be easy to draw on your own knowledge to say, “It’s Fall now. See, the leaves are red. Remember that they used to be green?”
Instead, ask them describe what you see, feel, hear, and smell. “Do you remember what color the leaves were last time we took this walk? What do you see now?” This modeling will help your child learn to use their own senses to explore. Sharing helps your child learn and shared memories bring family cohesiveness.
Some Cautions for Your Child’s Exploration
While you are allowing your children to explore at their own pace, there are of course certain precautions you should consider:
Teach your child to:
• Be aware of the environment and the creatures that live there.
• Always watch where they put their hands and feet. If they left shoes outside, make sure they empty their shoes before putting them back on.
• Use clear cups and look before they drink. No one wants to accidently drink an insect!
• Be wary of brown recluse spiders (also known as violin, or fiddleback, spiders), black widow spiders, scorpions, and poisonous snakes.
• Be cautious when lifting boards or rocks to find animals and insects. Also be careful to observe what is living there without disturbing their environment.
• Recognize poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak. If you or your child comes into contact with any of these plants, scrub the exposed area with dish detergent or another strong soap.
Prepare yourself and your child to encounter insects and stains:
• Wear old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
• Wear light-colored clothing to keep insects at bay.
- Wear a scarf or hat when walking through the woods.
2 Exciting Outdoor Venues Where You Can Help Your Child Explore on Long Island, NY
Suffolk County Farm
The Fall provides cool temperatures for your child to explore the Suffolk County Farm. This real working farm in Yapank, NY enables families to participate in many educational events and get up close to a wide array of farm animals, alpacas, goats, sheep, bunnies, horses, cows, pigs, chickens, llamas. Yes, that’s a lot of animals for your child to see up close and personal.
The century-old farm offers educational programs, show grounds, special events, a butterfly house, a certified Nature Explore Classroom and much more.
Plan for a day of exploring and learning about farm life, animals and much more.
350 Yaphank Avenue Yaphank. Open year round 7 days / week 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. No admission cost. Small fee for bags of seed to feed animals
Hallockville Museum Farm
This centuries old farm aims to take visitors back to Long Island’s family farming roots and to explore their relevance today. The Hallockville Museum Farm’s mission is to reconnect the community with Long Island’s agricultural heritage.
The original portion was built in 1765.
Among the many areas available to explore are a real Sustainability Trail that shows the 19th century farmers lived a truly sustainable lifestyle.
The Honeybees exhibit aims to protect honeybees and continue to contribute to the ecosystem. And shows different ways to save honeybees.
Other exhibits feature an array of 19th century Farm Implements and a number of different gardens that present a variety of educational opportunities to explore.
6038 Sound Avenue, Riverhead, New York 11901
For more information, call 631-298-5292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping Your Child Explore Long Island, NY Develops Lifelong Skills
Regardless of which farm you visit (if not both) your child will be presented with many wonderful opportunities to explore a working farm and interact and learn about how farm life in the 18th and 19th centuries as well as today.
This Fall get out and explore – and enjoy your time in a large farm without the many digital distractions we face each day.