If you subscribe to my podcast, Whole Heart: Crunchy Parenting, then you may have caught the episode about the four elements- Fire Water Air and Earth and the value for young children to have an opportunity to play with all the elements, but there's also value in including the elements in the home. Incorporating all of the elements into your daily life can have a positive affect on your child's development and promote grounding and centeredness.
Let's do a little mental exercise before you write this off as hocus pocus!
Step 1) Close your eyes and picture a classroom inside a modern school building with white walls, state-of-the-art technology, tile floors and fluorescent lighting and a bathroom down the hallway.
Step 2) Now close your eyes and picture a home-based preschool with a fire going, a large garden area, treehouse, mud kitchen, and large windows. Bright art colors the walls and the smell of bread is coming from the oven.
Why is number two so comforting and inviting? It incorporates all of the elements of nature. We are animals and we thrive among the elements!
EARTH: mud kitchen, sandbox, gardening, clay play, beeswax crayons, silk scarves, wooden toys, felting, sewing, pottery, barefoot play, picking apples or berries, tree climbing, raking leaves, balancing rocks, chalk, crystal play, gemstone hunting, exploring caves, hiking
AIR: windows open, windchimes, blowing bubbles, feathers, flying kites, hammocks, prisms, flags, prisms
WATER: water table, bathtime, watercolors, tugboats, paddleboarding/canoeing, fishing
FIRE: pottery together, glass blowing demonstrations, fire place, making candles, candles at naptime and mealtime, baking bread together
Children thrive when they feel connected to nature. One of the top Waldorf schools is located smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago; hardly a place kids can be outdoors all year around. But, the teachers bring nature inside!
Create a nature table that changes seasonally using items collected from outside and silk scarves matching the colors of the season. My kids use the Play Silks from Sarah's Silks and we add items from nature, festive fairies and gnomes, and sometimes a book or two for each season.
Add windchimes, windmills and prisms outside on the patio or perhaps put a temperature gauge on a bedroom window. A water gauge in the garden or flower bed is fun for kids to track rainfall as well!
Fire tends to add life to a room! We have our fireplace going daily all fall and winter now that we live in Oregon, but we also use candles before bedtime and the boys have a "fire fairy" at school who lights naptime candles to signal time for rest.
Fill your home with natural light, natural scents, and items made from natural materials. Toys made from natural materials have a living quality to them that enlivens the toy and helps the child feel more connected.
And...get outside! Play outside, eat outside, go for walks together as a family and vacation where natural beauty is the focus! You'll see a change in your child's behavior as they begin to feel more connected and grounded among the elements.
Parenting expert, blogger, inventor, single mom to twins, barefoot nomad, adventure seeker, boho spirit, advocate of play