We are all born with a sense of awe and wonder about the world. So why does that sense of awe and wonder escape so many of us as we grow older? How can we continue to embrace the natural world, even if through children, in our every day lives?
[Tweet ““If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” ~ Rachel Carson”]
Nature Activities for Families
Create a Wonder Board
There are so many moments during the day when my sons ask me a question about something to which I have no clue how to answer. Use a dry erase board or simply a piece of paper with a magnet or tape in your home to display your ‘Wonder Board”. Make it visible and set the example by adding to the “wonder” list.
Find a Sitting Spot
Sitting spots are a special rock, tree, piece of ground, or quiet corner in your home or classroom. A simple way for a family or a child to find a quiet place to think or to spend time alone. A sitting spot can be shared or can be a cherished place of your own. Sitting spots can be inside or outside. If inside, having a window nearby, a plant, or an aquarium works well.
Notice Something New
One of my favorite “games” to play with my sons on our commute is to pick out a new tree, flower, landmark, etc along our route, one that we have not noticed before. You will be surprised at all the life to notice along the way as your eyes open wider to notice even the little things. I enjoy discovering new plants that grow in our area. My sons are keen on insects when we're out exploring.
Take a Different Path
One of the easiest ways to “freshen” up your day is to take a new and different route to a familiar and routine place, such as the grocery store or your child's school.
Walk in Silence & Listen
Taking a moment to tune into your surroundings can happen inside or outside. What do you hear? I bet you will hear things that you did not expect. Listening activities for children are not only adored by children but wonderful for development.
Watching a child study an object closely is beautiful. He is so present and focused on the object that it seems I could not possibly distract him if I tried! As an adult, taking a moment to stop and notice the tiny details is refreshing and therapeutic! Try a self portrait.
Making objects larger to the eye of a child is easy. You don't have to spend loads of money. We have this great Jumbo Magnifying Glass that both my sons love to use. We have our magnifying glass placed on a tray with a few rocks, and like to take it along with us on hikes.
Leave without a Plan
Gasp! Don't plan the day away. Don't structure the day with activity after activity. Leave the house, go on a walk, follow your child. Or don't leave the house and observe your child. Simply let your child's interest lead the day.
Seek out a Wishing Rock
One of our favorite activities is to go to our stream and throw rocks. We also like to seek wishing rocks, a rock that has a line all the way around. There is something so beautiful, something magical, about these rocks.
Look for a Four Leaf Clover
Much like wishing rocks, we like to search for four leaf clovers. I have only found one in the past year, and the moment was special. Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool has an adorable children's song about searching for four leaf clovers that we like to sing as we're out looking in our yard!
Stare at the Clouds
This one takes me back to my childhood. We'd place an old sheet on the ground, lie on our backs, and watch the clouds pass by us calling out what we saw up in the sky.
Create with Natural Materials
Grab a cone, a few sticks, leaves, and twigs. Create cone people, wands, houses, and art work. Getting your hands on real objects and your mind into creative mode will re-create that sense of awe and wonder.
I hope we inspired you today!
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