Natural Resources

Natural Resources

11 May 2017

Natural resources - Ngā rawa ā-Māori

Setting up a “natural resource” area for children to explore in a homebased setting is easy to create.  Involving children in the process of collecting natural resources after they have fallen to the ground around local parks, bush reserves, or coastlines enables them to be part of the process of gathering, collecting, and respecting what the natural world had to offer.

In the Māori world, natural resources are gifts from Papa-tū-ā-nuku (Mother Earth) and are fundamental learning experiences.  As they are gifts, natural resources can be returned to their origins once finished with them.

Setting natural resources on a low table or shelf for children to explore offers children opportunities to develop theories about how things work in the living, physical and material worlds.  You can include a range of materials and visual aids such as:

  • Shells, bark, sponges, stones, pine cones
  • Flowers, plants, branches, leaves, driftwood, seaweed, moss
  • Magnifying glasses to explore
  • Posters, books and information about the natural world

For safety, remember to make sure the items are safe to hold, non-poisonous and larger than 5cm.  At Nurtured at Home children in care interact with their natural environment on a regular basis through activities at playgroup, Discovery Days, and spontaneous community outings.