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Experts agree that

Every aspect of nature holds a variety of lessons for your child.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a small yard or countless miles of woodland trails; a child will find something fascinating to capture their attention.  You do not have to be an expert in order to teach, learn together.

Here are some ideas for introducing your child to the wonderful world of nature.  Encourage your child to use all of his senses; Sight, Smell, Hearing, Touch, Taste.

Take a leisurely walk together, taking your time as you go.

•  Look for spider webs, no two are a-like!  Explain how and why they spin these incredible works of art.

•  Roll over a log or large rock and check out the busy world below.  You may find ants, worms, or even a stink bug!  Ask questions like, “What do you think they eat?” or “Where do you think they sleep?”

•  Point out the many colors in nature…the bright blue sky, the different shades of green among the plants and trees, the vivid shades of flowers, etc.

•  Look for wildlife such as squirrels and chipmunks gathering nuts, colorful birds flitting to and fro as they sing their own song.  Point out the birds you know, use a book to identify new ones.

•  Try using your sense of touch and hug a tree!  Run your fingers the rough bark.  Point out the different shapes; use a book to identify which tree they come from.

•  Stop to smell the flowers—watch as bees enjoy a sip of nectar.  Talk about the good work that bees do for our plants and making delicious honey.

Last, find a spot and just be still and quiet together.  Let your child experience the sense of well being and peace one feels when surrounded by living things.  On your way home, collect a few items to remember this special time together.  Pick up rocks, pine cones or maybe a bird feather. 

Try to provide as many opportunities as possible to spend time outdoors together.  You will not only provide life long lessons and positive memories but a deep appreciation for nature.



Jody Olsen is a mother of four boys, a Maternal/Child/Parenting Educator and Nature Writer/Photographer.  She is the author of many articles related to parenting, family life and nature.  Read more and view Jody's beautiful artwork at her website;  Expressions of Nature Photography.

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