In this hurried and heavily technical world, nature is often the last thing on our children’s minds. However it should not be that way. Nature is a huge part of human life and teaching children respect for the environment and the plant should start at a young age.
Here are some ways that I have tried to help my children to be more aware of nature and the environment:
- Camping and fishing – Camping and fishing is something that really allows you to get in touch with nature. You are living outside of your comfort zone and away from the distractions of everyday life. My children love to camp, even in the backyard, because it allows us to spend time one on one without televisions, phones and videogames. Fishing is a sport that goes right along with that. Spending quiet hours staring at the water waiting for that great bit is something even the more active of children can enjoy. Experts from Shooting Authority encourage that catching minnows, hunting for crawfish or even just watching the frogs and turtles becomes an opportunity to tell your children about the wonders of nature.
- Parks – Many of these camping trips take place in national and state parks. These parts are an oasis of natural beauty within the limits of our cities and countries. By taking my children to the parks we can both see new animals, hear new things, and discover histories we never knew. There is even an observatory close to my home where my children and I can look at the wonder of nature’s stars and planets and hear the owls hooting through the pitch darkness that has become so unfamiliar to us.
- Hands-on activities – Instead of doing things that require technology and tools, the kids and I love to take on projects with our bear hands. By going out and picking up a few scraps of waste wood and a hammer and some nails we can come up with great and inventive ideas on what to make. From birdhouses to dog houses to homemade skateboards, kids have the most fun with no directions at all. I live to see what my kids can create with limited tools and parts and a lot of imagination.
These are just a few of the ways I try to encourage my children to live more naturally. Being in touch with nature helps them to be more inventive and aware of life around them. Instead of having their heads in the phone or their movies, they know what real life is and how beautiful the world can be.
[About the author: Ken Myers holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife. Image: Fountain_Head]