So far in this series I have covered the bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, and musical intelligences. These are part of the original seven intelligences as proposed by Howard Gardner when he first published his book Frames of Mind:The Theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983. Gardner added the naturalist intelligence in 1999.
Do you look forward to a summer camping trip, autumn colors in the trees, snow capped mountains, or the first blooms in the spring? If you have ever embraced the smell of the salty air at the beach, or enjoyed the pine scented fragrance of the forests, you were engaging your naturalist intelligence. I remember how much my 4th and 5th grade students looked forward to the afternoons I would walk them to the park next to our school to read under the trees. We could have stayed in the classroom to read for an hour, but there was something special about spreading out blankets on the grass and curling up with a good book on a warm spring day.
According to Gardner, people with a strong naturalist intelligence are highly aware of patterns and changes to their environment, and like to relate their learning to the natural world. Nurturing and interacting with plants and animals are very important activities for people who are strong in the naturalist intelligence.
Here are some supplies or activities you could use to encourage the naturalist intelligence in young children:
Trips to local zoos, parks, orchards, gardens, and outdoor museums
Planting and caring for a garden
Caring for pets
Maintaining bird feeders in your backyard
Playing in dirt, mud, or sand (like building sandcastles)
Lots of time observing plants, animals, insects, etc. in your own outdoor spaces
Books on animals, plants, weather, environments, butterflies, birds, etc.
Supervised use of magnifying glasses, telescopes, cameras, and binoculars
Camping trips to beaches, state and national parks
Park ranger talks
Hiking local trails
Children’s nature videos and television shows (such as “Wild Kratts” and “Octonauts”)
Reading books under a tree
Now that we have covered four of the intelligences, I hope you are seeing that you have most likely already provided many of these materials or experiences for the children in your care. Feel free to share some of your ideas with me too. I love getting new inspirations.
In the next article in this series I will discuss the intrapersonal intelligence.