A child’s connection with nature is one of the simplest there is. Endlessly engaging, entertaining, nurturing and inspiring, nature doesn’t need any wires, or screens and, best of all, it doesn’t have an off switch.
Helping your little one connect with nature will not only expand their world today, it will give them the balance they need to manage the connection they will have with technology tomorrow.
So how can you help your child develop a life-long love of nature, discover the magic of the world around them?
Here are some simple ways for babies, toddlers and young children to get in touch with their world:
1. Crawly doesn’t have to be creepy
Insects are a truly incredible part of the world your children live in and have many valuable lessons to teach them. Where would the world be without worms and bees? Even spiders have an important job to do for mother nature. So, although it may be challenging at first, try replacing “Ew!” with “Ah!” and encourage your mini human’s curiosity for all nature’s creatures.
2. Get their hands dirty
When you spend so much time cleaning up after your kids, it can be easy to forget how much fun they can have just getting dirty. Making mud pies, squishing little toes in puddles, finding pet rocks, planting veggies. It all helps their imagination and their love of nature grow. The “Big Outside” is a playground where, amazing and sometimes muddy things can happen. Get out in it.
3. Stop and smell the roses
As a parent and an adult, you can sometimes miss the beauty around you. Not children. No, your child will notice every blooming flower, every buzzing bee, every puddle and shiny stone – especially when you’re in a hurry! Because to your child, it’s all new. That’s why one of the best things you can do to help your little one connect with nature is slow the pram down a little. Walk with your eyes wide open and have no end goal. You’ll be amazed what you see.
4. Roll out the green carpet
Ditch the socks – let’s face it, they never stay on long anyway – and get some grass between those chubby, little toes. Make a patch of grass your carpet and your child won’t even need toys. Just feeling the cool, green texture under foot as they play, toddle or run can be enough to get little imaginations going. While you’re at it, why not roll down a big, grassy hill!
5. Catch a dew drop
It’s hard to believe so much wonder can be contained in a humble drop of water. To find out just how much, take a morning walk with your little one next time it rains and keep a look out for the tiny, glistening, silver balls cradled in round leaves and lily pads. Gently roll the magical drop around the leaf to your child’s delight. Catch another and watch it grow.
6. Autumn leaf confetti
Autumn is coming, so pop on a beanie, pile up some leaves and get amongst them. Kick them up with your toes, throw them over your little one like confetti, lie down in them and make leaf angels together. You can even practice counting them as they fall. Whether you’re a toddler or an adult, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of throwing a few leaves about.
7. Grow, baby, grow
You can’t always be out in nature, but you can bring a bit of nature to you. Add a touch of green to your home with a veggie patch, herb jars or indoor plants and teach your little one how to garden. It’s a safe, healthy and fun activity for your little ones where they can develop new skills and learn more about science!