It never fails when I am outside with children, they notice something that I have not. Their natural tendency to soak in their surroundings and stare where I may only glance is a constant reminder to slow down. As quickly as children move, they also help me "put on the brakes."
Watching children take notice in small changes of the season, something out of place, or something new that catches their eye, has made me more appreciative of nature's gifts, and everyday objects we take for granted. It has opened my eyes to what is really going on when I observe children noticing.
Observation has changed my perspective. When children notice things, they explore them in any way they can to find out more about it, especially toddlers. My one year old has been picking up acorns in the yard that have fallen from our tree. He pulls the tops off, plucks leaves off, steps on them, throws them, and dumps out our collection bucket to watch them roll around on the ground. He's not making a mess, he's exploring what he can do with them. They weren't always there, and now they're in our yard, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be used as a learning tool.
My six year old has eagle eyes for worms, lizards, and caterpillars. He rescues them from the sidewalks nearly everyday, especially this time of the year when it gets too cold for them at night, slowing down so much that they can't quite make it to the safety of the dirt and grass. I would pass them by otherwise, almost stepping on them half of the time if he wasn't bending down and shouting "watch out mom!"
When I stop with them and look when they find something, they learn more about it. The spider sitting on its web, the squirrel eating nuts in the tree; they soak it in and retain what they've learned about their surroundings. I sometimes take it for granted knowing more than they do as children.
Because we are a military family and move often, I have to remind myself that each new place is something for us to observe and explore together, there is something different to notice, something new to learn for me as well.
Observing children has taught me to stop and take notice.
What are you observing or noticing where you live?
Some GREAT observing activities for children from blogs that I love...
Nurturing Curiosity (An Everyday Story and Childhood 101)
The Art of Observation (Playful Learning)
4 ways to foster observation skills (Lessons Learnt Journal)
A simple birdwatching activity (Sun Hats and Wellie Boots)
“First you need only look: Notice and honor the radiance of Everything about you... Play in this universe. Tend All these shining things around you: The smallest plant, the creatures and objects in your care..." -Anne Hillman
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