There are so many ways for you and your family to embrace nature in the comping new year! It is close at hand, whether it’s a the park or the playground, on your balcony, in your window box, in the yard, on the boulevard, or even growing in the sidewalk cracks. You just have to take the time to notice it! Whether kids are collecting fallen leaves, catching snowflakes for the first time, or playing in the waves at the beach, there is beauty and wonder in watching them discover the world around them.
One thing kids don’t need too much to enjoy nature is guidance. Encourage even the youngest children to explore whatever attracts them, then stand back and let them do it. One way to get you and the kids out and enjoying the great outdoors is leading by example.If you want your kids to value nature and to discover for themselves how amazing the natural world can be, from rolling in the dirt, to rolling down a grassy bank or finding slimy banana slugs after it rains, nothing sends a stronger message than if they see you out there enjoying yourself. So step outside at every opportunity! Get out side for 1 hour per day (schedule a “green hour” daily to make nature a habit!) by making a sandcastle, making a snow angel, or just rubbing your toes in the grass. Enthusiasm is contagious!
Follow by example, too. Most grown-ups can learn something from kids. They are receptive to new things and can see things in a different light. They are naturally curious. Be receptive and curious too and see the world a-new! That is one of the greatest gifts our children can bring us so take advantage of their youthful eyes. Ask questions and encourage them to do so as well. Nothing is more valuable than learning to question everything! If you don’t know the answer, admit it and then look it up together. Or make up a fun answer: This seaweed is monster hair! These rocks are from the walls of an ancient castle! These embellishments make the outdoors fun and mysterious. Try this fun game of Follow the Leader: Find a creek, pond, park or any place with lots of life. Appoint a leader of the kids and follow him or her (you can switch off by day or time who the leader will be). If he stops to turn over a log to see what’s beneath it, everyone else looks too. If he throws stones into the lake, so do the rest of you. If he digs in the mud and gets his pants dirty–don’t hold back! A little dirt is good for the soul 🙂 Let’s Go Chipper into the Great Outdoors today!