Connecting with nature

When children spend time exploring nature, whether in a local park, creek, backyard or within school grounds, they gain a multitude of physical, cognitive and social benefits:

As children observe, reflect, record, and share nature’s patterns and rhythms, they are participating in a process that promotes scientific and ecological awareness, problem solving and creativity. 
- Deb Matthews Hensley, 1999, Early childhood consultant

Time spent in nature can be categorised into two components: structured and unstructured.

  • Structured time is characterised by a set way to do things, such as monitoring and field trips. NRM Education provides a broad suite of resources to encourage students to engage with the natural world.
  • Unstructured time is self-guided and fosters imaginative and creative interactions.

An understanding and appreciation of nature is critical in helping us develop a meaningful connection and desire to protect it.

The following activities can be used on school camps or field trips, at the beginning of a unit of work, or during play time to engage students with their natural world.

Available to borrow

  • Connecting with nature kit
    Items to engage the five senses of touch, taste, sound, sight and smell.
  • GPS Units - Garmen eTrex 10
    10 Garmen eTrex10 GPS units available (5 x Upper Murray and 5 x Lower Murray). Great for geocaching

Visiting local places

Visiting local places is one of the best ways for children to connect with nature.

  • Coorong National Park teacher resource pack (2mb pdf)
    Learn about the biodiversity and hydrology of the park, its history and current management. Suggested activities that can be completed at school or in the park are also included along with a site map and self-guided excursion itineraries.
  • Fleurieu Swamps Excursion Guide teacher resource pack
    The guide contains a collection of activities that can be undertaken at the Mount Compass School Swamp or any other natural area, including a local wetland, creek or the school yard.
  • Local Places Guide 
    This guide lists more than 100 places within the SA Murray-Darling Basin including local parks, wetlands and bush areas.

Refer to related links below for more resources.


Related links

More information

  • Team Leader – Community Engagement
    Upper level, cnr Mann & Walker Street, Mount Barker SA 5251
    8391 7500
    samdbenquiries@sa.gov.au