There are many things that we want to teach our kids, from how to read and do math to manners and being a kind person. The list of what we want to teach our children seems to be never-ending. As newer beings on this planet, they have a ton to learn and will never stop learning! Isn’t that amazing? One thing that is getting more and more important to teach our kids is how to appreciate nature.
At Growing Kids Learning Centers, we know how beneficial nature and the great outdoors can be for children’s learning and development. There are many ways to teach your child to appreciate nature and allow them to benefit from the great outdoors at the same time. In this blog, we are going to talk about ways you can help teach your children to appreciate nature. Read on to learn more and go explore the world with your kiddos!
Playing outside is a great way to get started building your child’s appreciation for nature. Just getting kids to play outside nowadays seems like a feat with technology running our lives. Let your kiddos play tag, color with sidewalk chalk, ride their bikes around the neighborhood, or play in the grass. You don’t need to go on a grand adventure to get your kiddos outside enjoying nature. Even just playing outside of your home allows kids to realize how much nature can offer and the endless possibilities.
Go On Hikes
Hikes or nature walks are a great way to immerse yourself in nature and the great outdoors. One thing to keep in mind is that kids can’t hike as far as you can. Find a trail that brings you through the heart of nature and just explore with no goal in mind. If your child wants to examine a creek for 15 minutes, let them! They are learning, exploring, and engaging with the outside world, which will help them develop an appreciation for nature. Talk about what they see, what they hear, point out different flowers and animals, and let them (and yourself) just enjoy being outside.
Climb a Tree
Kids love climbing trees. While you don’t want your little one climbing to the very top of a tall tree, letting them climb some branches, in arms-reach of you, allows them to get closer to nature, touch the bark of a tree, and examine a tree up close. They may notice a bug they have never seen before, or touch sap that makes them question why the tree is sticky. These are great learning opportunities and allow their curious minds to start moving at full speed.
Go On a Treasure Hunt
Treasure hunts are fun for kiddos and a great way to get outside. Make a treasure hunt of different things that are found in nature and go exploring with your kiddos. Let them work through their treasure hunt as you explore different outdoor areas. Not only is this a great way to get outside, but it is also a great way to ensure your children actually notice the outside world and nature! People can get so stuck in their own worlds from time to time, so helping your child learn how to look around and take in their surroundings can help them continue to use this skill into adulthood.
Taking pictures is a great way to capture memories, but it is another great way to get your kiddos to notice their surroundings and observe nature. Get disposable cameras for your kiddos and go on a nature walk. Let them take pictures of whatever they find interesting or beautiful. When you print out the photos, they will be excited to revisit these pieces of nature that caught their interest and be able to look at them for years to come.
Go find a natural area and just explore. Get lost (not physically, but mentally). Make no other plans that day, pack snacks and drinks, and let your kiddos just explore. Jump in puddles, play in a stream, collect rocks, bring a sketchbook and let your kiddos draw different plants, and just enjoy nature. Allowing your kiddos to just completely become engaged with nature is a great way to help them learn to appreciate it.
Let Kids Be Kids
Let your kids be kids when they are outside. Kids want to dig holes, pick up bugs, dig their toes in the mud, and chase geese. When you go outside, don’t tell your children what to do or how to engage with nature, just let them do what feels right to them. We all interact with the outdoor world differently — allowing your child to do what they want can help them grow an appreciation for the great outdoors.
There are so many ways to get your children to appreciate and enjoy nature. Our biggest suggestion would be to not force anything and just let them explore. Talk about what you love about nature and show your appreciation. Eventually, they will learn to do the same.
If you are looking for a great child care center for your child that allows them to engage with nature and learn in a fun and beneficial ways, be sure to check out Growing Kids Learning Centers. We have locations throughout Indiana and can ensure that your child is always able to socialize with others. Contact us to learn more!