We were totally the family that didn’t put much thought into nature or the environment. Neither my husband nor myself would ever have been considered outdoorsy, and we lived a lifestyle that consisted of Netflix-working-eating-repeat. We were absolutely in sleepwalker mode. However we started to have a bit of an “awakening” not so long ago, which has led us to become interested in reconnecting with nature, growing our food, and changing the way we eat and how we manage our home. I think it’s safe to say that we have turned into born again Hippies!
When we realized that the nature aspect was missing from our lives, we also realized our responsibility to help our children develop a love for nature as well. Feeling disillusioned with much of how the modern world works, we have began to have an interest in the prospect of homesteading, and trying to learn some of the skills that we as a society have lost. We began to take a long hard look at how we were bringing up our children, and have decided to try our best to instill a love of nature in them early on. My second child in almost three, which puts him at the perfect age for learning, and exploring his surroundings.
It is with this in mind that we engage in the following activities with our kids daily to help instill a love of nature in them. I have also added a few links to some products that can enhance these activities. For more information on affiliate links, click here 🙂
Simple Ways to Help Children Reconnect with Nature- Even if you Live in the City
Go for Nature Walks and Explore
I am totally that mom who tends to be in a big ol’ hurry to do nothing! Lately I have been trying really hard to slow down, and allow my toddler to explore even the small pieces of nature all around us in the city. He is particularly fond of looking for worms (and picking them up and throwing them at me- thanks kid!) or bugs. We are fairly lucky to live near a large park so going for a nature walk is pretty easy despite living in the city.
Hands-On Nature: Information and Activities for Exploring the Environment with Children
Scientoy Microscope for kids, 100X,400X and 1200X Magnification with Prepared Slides,Science Toys for Children, Blue/Yellow
Plant All the Things!
Since we have started this journey to reconnect with nature, we have spent a lot of time attempting to grow food in our small suite. Part of our motivation was to have the kids be involved in the hopes that they would develop a love for nature. It’s in that spirit that planting, watering, and harvesting end up being a family activity that we encourage the kids to actively take part in. My toddler says good morning to our plants, he feeds our aquaponics fish and he waters and sprays our plants with water. We have made him the caretaker of these things and you can see that he loves his role in this.
Cleaning up at Local Parks
I truly NEVER thought I would see the day that I would take my kids around the park and pick up the garbage of strangers but here we are. This activity is a good way to teach little ones to respect nature, and to demonstrate the little things we can do to spread kindness and make the world a little bit better. Also a little civic responsibility never hurt anyone (#boringmomgoals!)
Collecting Items for Crafting
My toddler is an avid rock collector. Every time we go out he wants to grab rocks and its too much really. If we find big enough rocks, we like to take them home and paint them. Similarly there are so many crafts you can do with pine cones and leaves etc. and kids just love doing things like this.
Bonus points if you decorate rocks and leave them around to brighten a strangers day. We found this amazing little beauty one day and it was a major pick me up.
Scavenger Hunts and Exploring
If you have small kids, chatting about the things you see all around you can be a great way to keep them focused and engaged. A pro tip is that it’s also a great way to distract small minds from constantly melting down when they aren’t allowed to run into traffic like kids seem to love to do (please tell me its not just mine!).
How you approach this activity can depend a lot on the child’s age and where they are developmentally. Some things we do with our toddler are looking for specific colors, flowers, items, animals (ie: cats or dogs) and then when we find them we try and talk about them a little. You could also go out with a structured list of items to find.
Hungry for More?
While this list is full of things that we do here, there are lots of other resources out there for exploring nature with kids. Here are a few:
A Note about Mindfulness
These things are not only good for the kids but they are also pretty great for Moms (and Dads) too. It can be so easy to get all wrapped up in work, and making dinner, and all the other mundane things in life that sometimes we forget to look around us. When you explore nature with kids you can really see just the wonder they have and how much they are still connected to it. It can be a really humbling experience and an exercise in mindfulness to just connect with your kids and soak it all in as they explore nature. I highly recommend it!
Give these things a try, and let us know how it goes in the comments! And if you liked this post, please Share or Pin it!