One of the intelligences identified by Howard Gardner is that of the naturalist. Multiple intelligences research has been able to identify connections made in the brain based on the reception of certain stimuli. As different parts of the brain are stimulated, they “light up” because of the activity that is happening in that place in the brain. The Naturalist intelligence is defined this way: “Naturalist intelligence enables human beings to recognize, categorize and draw upon certain features of the environment. It 'combines a description of the core ability with a characterization of the role that many cultures value' So what are those experiences that we might want kids to have to either support the development of this intelligence or to “feed” the student who has a high degree of intelligence in this arena already. Simply getting kids outdoors is a first step. Have kids sit outside to read, do homework, or go on a nature walk. On this walk they can identify plants, insects, any small animals that they may come across, and if possible, dissect animal scat (using tools and rubber gloves of course) to determine what the animal has been eating. (Owl scat is particularly interesting). Kids can also watch the clouds in the sky, study the stars in the evening, build a garden, create a rock collection, and engage in any number of other activities that they can do outside.
Club activities can take kids on a simulated camping trip, complete with smores and scary stories, have them work in a community garden (have the local garden club come and help students learn about vegetables and flowers), or have them map the night sky (there are assemblies that will come an “erect” a temporary observatory in your cafeteria. So many of our students live in the city and don’t have a lot of opportunity to get out in the world of nature. In your after-school program, you have the opportunity to open this door for youth.
Gardner, Howard. http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm
Not so usual celebrations…
August 31st is National Trail Mix Day. Trail Mix is a snack that you can carry with you easily—whether exploring the world on foot or in the car. Trail Mix is a combination of sweet and salty that is delicious. If you are making your own trail mix, try to avoid things that are sticky—yuck, it make a huge mess and doesn’t clean up well. Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of Trail Mixes to choose from, but the real fun is when you get the basic ingredients and make your own. This way you are sure that the trail mix is exactly what you like.
Activity for Kids
In order to go outdoors and explore, you may need to keep your strength up by making and eating trail mix. The recipe can be simple or complex. For the simple version, mix pretzels, peanuts, a few M and Ms, cheese crackers, raisins or cranberries, maybe chocolate or other flavored chips, and Cheerios. Mix it altogether and then divide into small bags or paper cups, and have kids enjoy while “hiking” through the neighborhood.