If you want to get the kids outside more...to appreciate nature, get some fresh air, and for some plain old fun, here's where to start.
Get out there! The best way to experience nature and all that it offers is to get outside. You won't get all the great benefits of connecting with nature through any book or movie.
Slow down! You'll find there are hidden gems all around if you slow things down when you're outdoors. Sit quietly in one spot for at least a few minutes and look around. This could be the most important thing you ever do in nature with a child.
Don't be intimidated with what you don't know! You can teach a child to appreciate nature by exploring WITH them...it's not about naming everything you come across. No matter how many years of study I've had in the science and environmental field, there will always be things I don't know. It's actually what I like best about nature. There's always something interesting to learn. If you come across something you can't identify...just say "I don't know, let's look it up together". Or, you might want to get a field guide. We have one on birds, trees and butterflies...that way we can identify things on hikes if we want to.
Get excited about their discoveries. Yes, even the bugs, worms and dirt. The more excitement you show, the more likely they are to head out and explore more. Fostering a sense of curiosity in a child in one of the greatest gifts you can give them!
Address any fears. If your child, or the children you are working with, are afraid of something they're going to experience, address it before you get outside. You could even relate a fear that you have and show them how you've tried to overcome it. Also, try to be comfortable with any of their "finds". Admire them, even make an effort to touch them. (Of course that's IF they're not dangerous).
More ideas to come! Happy exploring!
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- Hi! My name is Chris, and I'm writing this blog to share my passion...nature!
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As with any activity, please use your discretion and only do things that you deem are safe based on the age of your child and your location.