It seems we spend less and less time outdoors, leading to a generation that has respects and protects the outdoors less. We can appreciate things better when we experience them.
So how do we give out children good outdoor experiences? Here are 10 ways to help children appreciate the outdoors (and create memories).
1. Visit the moon every night. Before going to bed, take a step outside to see the moon. What phase is it in? How bright is it? Is it visible?
2. Collect things outside to use for crafts or just a table decoration inside. You can do t his in your yard or a park. Look for unusual rocks, for seed pods, dried flowers, unusual shaped sticks, dried leaves, etc.
3. Plant a garden. If you don’t have the space outside for a garden, plant something in a pot that can be outside or if absolutely necessary, inside.
4. Go for the same walk at different times of year. Going for the same walk at different times of year helps children to recognize the changes that happen with the seasons from green leaves to colored leaves to no leaves.
5. Visit a farm. Its easy to visit a farm in autumn when many have pumpkin festivals. Better yes, volunteer on a farm. Organic farms are very labor intensive and often welcome volunteers. We certainly do on our farm.
6. Learn a constellation. Look up at the skin at night and learn at least on constellation. The Big Dipper is one of the easiest to learn if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Learn about the Big Dipper here.
7. Identify the parts of a flower. Take a really close look at a flower. Do you see the stigma, the petals, the anther? Here is a nice flower diagram.
8. Find a nice looking rock. Bring it home and paint it to use as a paperweight.
9. Walk along a stream. Look for life in the stream. This can be small fish, algae, even crawdads.
10. Take a short walk outside everyday, no matter what the weather. Even if its only for 10-15 minutes, being outside can improve health and bring an appreciation for nature.
Read the REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) Report “The Path Ahead”
I love the idea of watching the moon every night with young children. It does change noticeably every night, but you have to observe it carefully. A teachable moment.