How to get your child excited about nature
By Greg Seaman • September 29th, 2010 • 4484 Views
Children are born with an innate curiosity about the natural world around them. How can we help them satisfy it? Parents need to teach children in a simple but deliberate way how to understand and interact with the natural environment. If this curiosity is not stimulated, it gradually dulls as the many distractions of modern life fill the child’s interest.
When a child becomes excited by nature, he/she gains access to its inherent rewards – inspiration, entertainment, comfort and perspective. As our modern life becomes more complex and over-stimulating, an appreciation of our natural world offers the child a gift that will last a lifetime.
Start when they’re young
First impressions are lasting impressions. Even babes in arms, birth – 6 months old, will respond with interest to the wonders of their natural environment. The first year or two of a child’s life is a special time when the child looks to the parent for guidance in all areas of learning. Seize the moment to instill in your child an interest and a reverence for nature.
As an example, when my children were babies I would take them to a quiet spot near the house before dinnertime to listen to the evening bird songs. As each bird gave its distinct call, I would simply say the name of the bird – varied thrush, grouse, towhee, robin, woodpecker…. Invariably, my child would be fixated in silence, concentrating on the attention we gave to the sounds of nature. Beyond the learning experience, these were precious moments, rewarding for both child and parent.
Go with them
Your participation is essential, as it underscores the importance of learning about our natural environment. As guide and mentor, your example sets the benchmark for your child’s level of interest in nature.
Begin by taking your child out in nature with just yourself. Avoid bringing your child’s friends along for the first few outings; children listen to their peers more than their parents and all it takes is one snicker from a friend saying ‘this is dumb’ to throw a wet blanket on your efforts.
Also, sending your child off to camp or school field trips is no guarantee that he/she will have a successful experience in wild nature. With children, social interactions can distract from their experience of nature.
Help them observe
Equip your child with the means to better explore and observe the natural world, from the miniature world of the insects to the local...
green living, environment, Energizing, Healthy Living, Overall Health