By: Erin Tessier
Since it was Valentine’s Day, the past weeks in the Glenn have been all about love. We talked about loving our families, our friends, our pets, and also…nature! I asked the children if they loved being outside, if they loved sunshine, flowers, birds, trees…the list goes on. They of course said they loved all of them and understood that all those things are a part of nature. We discussed the importance of noticing the beauty in nature and we all picked a favorite leaf that we loved from a collection we had. We then went out in The Glenn and found our favorite natural thing. The kids found a variety of items that they loved from rocks, flowers, dirt, pill bugs, and sticks. It was so cute to see their excitement in the little things we take for granted. We then read a book about the ways we can show our love for nature, such as recycling, saving water and energy, planting a tree, being kind to living things, and walking or riding our bikes to school or the park. Lastly, we planted some flower seeds to help pollinators have a food source and host plants. We can’t wait ’til they bloom!
I loved this lesson for a variety of reasons. The kids just love exploring in nature and getting their hands in the dirt. Also, although the act of finding something they love out in nature seems quite simple, encouraging an appreciation of nature at this young age can plant a seed (yes, I went there) for future stewardship. Our little ones can’t process the complex environmental issues of our time, but they can realize that being out in nature is fun, and want to seek out those experiences more often. This can create a life-long connection.
As many parents can attest, our kids are growing up in a very different world than we did. Technology is paramount in many of our lives and as amazing as it is, it comes at the cost of alternative experiences, particularly outdoor ones. Most kids these days don’t stay outside playing until mom calls them in for dinner. Most don’t have woodlands or a stream nearby, or if they do, they certainly wouldn’t be allowed to explore it. There is a name for this lack of experience outdoors and it’s become quite a popular buzzword in the past few years…nature-deficit disorder. The author, Richard Louv, is at the heart of this movement to get kids back out into nature and has some great books about the subject. He delves into the many benefits of time spent outdoors for both your child, and the family. I have a couple of them if any parents are interested in glancing at them, just let me know =).
I am just so thankful I have the opportunity to hang out with your amazing kids and nurture their love for nature. It’s been a fun couple of weeks! Now that the hills are green from all the rain I hope you and yours have some time to get outdoors and go hiking! It’s beautiful out there! If you aren’t sure where to go, I am part of a great group called Family Adventures in Nature that meets up several times a month for hikes and family events. Here’s the link: