It is Earth Day. In years past we have planted seeds, fed our feathered friends, or made a nature craft to celebrate, but today the boys are in school and I am thinking about how to help their love of nature grow as they grow older. It seems they are more distracted than ever. For heaven sake, how can Nature compete with Minecraft in the mind of a 10-year old boy? Well, I have a few thoughts about that:
- Get them out there! If I do not take my boys to nature, how will they ever really care about it? I don't mean just telling them to go outside and play, but to take them to the wilderness for hours at a time. Let them explore at their own pace, wade in a creek or look for crawdads, bring a picnic lunch, and bring home a shiny rock, acorn, or bird feather for the nature table. Better yet, go camping - sleep in the wilderness.(We have a wonderful trip to Shenandoah National Park planned for the summer!) Really, how are they suppose to care about a tree if they have not felt or climbed several? How are they to cherish birds if they do not regularly hear the sweet songs?
- Have everyone keep a nature journal. Make it lightweight and bring colored pencils. Allow children to draw or write whatever they want. They can press wildflowers in the pages or leaves can be a bookmark. Let them see your nature journal - your love is contagious.
-Give them a variety of nature books to read and keep nature guides available in your home. One of our favorite books is Bird Songs that allows us to look up a bird according to its habitat then listen to its song.
I think this is a good start. How do you keep your children's nature love real and growing?