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You are here : home > Intelligent Child > Interesting Activities > Teaching Children to Love Nature

Teaching Children to Love Nature

In the world of traffic and pollution, help open your children's eyes to the wonders of nature.


It is a disease of our age. In an age crammed with TV, computers, and electronic gadgets, children are isolated from the simple pleasures of exploring nature. As it is, academics, along with classes and extra-curricular activities, leave children with little time to play outdoors. And even if they do, there are almost no green spaces left for them to enjoy. Even parks and playgrounds are often too manicured, and do not invite curious, open-ended exploration. Children today are thus robbed of a very essential part of childhood: of connecting on a one-to-one basis with nature.

Author Richard Louv, in his book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder mentions that this sense of isolation is radically affecting our children. According to him, it is harming their physical and mental health and hampering their creativity. In fact, he has coined the phrase "Nature-Deficit Disorder" to describe this phenomenon.


Why Children Need to Connect with Nature?

  • Being outdoors helps create a sense of wonder in children, which they can carry over to other aspects of their life.

  • Being out in nature helps children to become more aware. Nature gives children the chance to engage all their senses of perception.

  • Modern life is too regimented and deprives children of the opportunity of exploring and learning by themselves. In this context, the role of nature to stimulate their curiosity is even more important.

  • According to educationists, the opportunity to explore nature helps children improve their attention span and learning capacity.

  • Research has proven that exposure to green outdoor setting helps to reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorders in children.

  • Outdoor activity offers children the opportunity of fresh air and exercise. Both are important to help children keep physically and mentally fit.

  • Being in and enjoying nature is an important part of children's development.

  • Ecological degradation is an unfortunate reality today. Nurturing a bond between children and nature is important to ensure that the coming generation grows up to value nature.


What You Can Do?

There are many things that parents, guardians, and teachers can do to help children develop a love for nature.

Start Young

If you love nature yourself, it is very easy to develop this love in your children. Expose them to the natural world from the time they are young. Encourage them to play in the garden. Let them pick up and observe leaves, flowers, rocks, etc. Point out and name trees, insects, birds, and animals to them.


Involve Them in Gardening

A great way to help children connect to nature is to get them to help in gardening. This will bring them in touch with the soil and they will encounter different kinds of insects, worms, and other intriguing creatures. Caring for plants, and seeing them grow and develop, is a wonderful opportunity for them to know the cycle of creation first hand. You can also help them set up a bird or butterfly feeder in the garden.

Take Them to W
ildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks

Make trips to the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks a regular part of their growing years. Plan regular picnics and outings to nature spots around your city. Introduce them to the joys of hiking. You can spend vacations visiting places like Kanha, Ranthambhore, or Corbett, where children can see wild animals in their natural environment.

Arouse their Curiosity

Encourage your children to observe things around them. Gift them with books or CDs about nature and wildlife. Take them along to museums or libraries. Better still, get them membership to a nature organisation such as the Bombay Natural History Society or the World Wildlife Fund, and encourage them to participate in the field trips and other activities organised by them.

Gift Them a Hobby

Enhance their enjoyment of nature by giving them magnifying lenses, a pair of binoculars, or a simple telescope. Encourage your children to observe things they see and record them. Teach them to take notes. Get them to make sketches of what they see. Give older children a simple
camera, if they show an inclination for photography. Buy your children field guides to the common animals, birds, insects, or trees in your area; identifying plants and animals they see during their trips will help increase their knowledge and make a fun activity into a life-long passion.

Teach Them to Conserve

As they grow older, teach children to value nature. Encourage them to adopt conservation practices. More importantly, practice them yourself. Explain to children how small things like using water carefully and keeping lights switched off when they do not need them can contribute towards conserving nature.


Getting your children to cherish nature will not just help them become responsible citizens, but will even make them better custodians of our home planet, the Earth.

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Recent comments (3 comments)
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Comment: 
Name: Myrrah
Country: Costa Rica

An outing to a natural environment thrills kids. The sheer number of sights can be overwhelming. Taking pics is a great time for keeping the memories alive and it is a great way to explore and discover nature.
 
Name: Satin Miles
Country: Belgium

connecting with nature is the best form of creativity. It is a great learning experience. Children learn more through expeditions and direct contact so nature tours help them to know more about the marvels of nature.
 
Name: Paprika Das
Country: India

Very good article. Kids can be encouraged to explore nature by means of nature photography also. Taking photographs will not only help them in photography but will also help them in admiring nature. what's more they will be having a proof of their nature exploits.


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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
Do your children enjoy being outdoors? Do they spend time exploring nature? Are they conversant with basic environmental conservation issues?
Nihal
Not all people have to take their children to exotic lands on safari. Our own country is full of national parks you can travel to. If not, consider a local park. They too are full of life....
Malini
I think this is a wonderful idea. Children nowadays have no outlet for their energy. If they are allowed to be outside then they will be able to burn some of it off. Besides, they will also learn some...
Bindu
No child is naturally afraid of nature. It is parents who give their children their fears. If all parents allowed their children to explore their natural surroundings, we would not have children who s...
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