Spending time outdoors in nature provides numerous benefits for children and adults with special needs, from relieving stress and anxiety to gaining and enhancing life skills, such as interacting positively with others (experienced when working as a team to build a garden for instance), and adapting to changes (experienced when the weather shifts, water evaporates, or plants grow).
An opportunity to get out and explore nature presents itself this month of April with the celebration of Earth Day. There are various ways to help your consumers engage in meaningful work this time of year while learning more about the environment and how to take care of it.
Try engaging with your consumers in one or more of the suggested activities below.
- Make a solar oven. Teach consumers about solar energy by cooking s’mores outside under the sun. See a lesson plan, directions, and additional outdoor cooking projects here.
- Set up a recycling center. Go over what’s recyclable and what’s not by visiting your city’s website and reading recycling-related books and videos. Start small with solely 3 containers; one for paper, plastic, and glass, respectively.
- Create a recycling craft. Gather recyclable materials. Invite consumers to create a work of art or other new creation using the reusable items. Set up the activity outdoors.
- Nurture nature. Go to a nursery or home improvement store and allow each consumer to pick out at least one plant. Transplant the plants into pots or gardening beds back at the group home or center and allow consumers to care for them. Provide assistance where needed.
- Attend an Earth Day event. Earth Day festivals provide numerous nature-engaging activities in one location, along with food, music, and giveaways. Attend one like the Piedmont Earth Day Fair in Winston-Salem on the 22nd or the 2017 Earth Day event in Kernersville on the 20th.