Nature is an essential element for continuing life on earth. Every being, most of the time, relies directly on nature for living and surviving. After all, it is the primary source of air, nourishment, and safety. Therefore, it becomes essential to develop an appreciation for nature and acknowledge nature for all it has to provide.
We as humans depend on nature for other secondary elements like clothes, economy, and recreation. Being grateful helps us acknowledge the goodness in life and makes us connect to something much more significant than our individuality. The gratitude could be in the form of simply appreciating or taking care of all the landforms and vegetation.
It has been noted that children have a particular affinity to nature. This comes as a natural ability, and various studies have been done to see if boosting contact with nature could somehow positively affect a child. With advancements in research fields, it has been noted that children, when coming in contact with nature at a very young age, show healthy signs of development and reinforce their physical and mental health. Thus, a child should develop an appreciation for nature.
Ways for developing an appreciation for nature are –
Taking a walk frequently
Taking a walk around the neighborhood or in a nearby park or garden is an excellent way to appreciate nature. The walks will allow a child to see the changes that occur in the world around them. One way to make these walks fun is by planning a hike once in a while. This is an excellent way to emerge the mind of a child with nature.
One thing to ensure here as a caretaker is that when a child is outside, they are learning, exploring, and engaging with what nature has to offer, and therefore you have to be patient and let the child take their time.
Appreciation for nature by taking pictures
Taking pictures is an excellent way to capture memories, but it’s also a great way to teach your kids to be aware of their surroundings and study nature. Get them some disposable cameras and take them on a nature walk. Allow them to photograph everything that interests or appeals to them. They’ll be eager to revisit these elements of nature that piqued their interest.
Identifying and keeping track
- While taking a child for a walk, the child must interact with nature. So, when the child notices an animal, a bird, or even a flower, make sure to answer all the questions a child is asking. Sharing some fun facts and later having a quiz is a great way for a child to engage in nature-related activities.
- To take it a step further, maintain a nature book. The nature book could be filled with pictures the child takes during walks or a diary notes down anything interesting they learned or saw. These journals also allow the child to keep track of changes that are happening around them.
Join appreciation for nature group
Joining a group with other interested children is another way one can build an appreciation in a child. Not only does a child meet similar-minded people that help build on his/her social skills, but the child can share his/her thoughts and opinions in a stimulating environment. Joining a group also allows him to learn new things that his fellow group mates share.
Appreciate nature at home
Sticks, rocks, unique color leaves, and other natural objects fascinate children. Give children a space to display their prized possessions. This space does not necessarily have to be a grand or an extravagant one. Simply displaying them in a place where the child can see his/her collection, preferably a low glass table or a shelf, is a very good yet effective way for a child to develop appreciation. The child will be excited to add things to his/her collection and, therefore, will be motivated to take frequent walks.
Play games that connect to nature
Games are always a fun way to build interest in a child. The simplest nature game in an outdoor setting would include a treasure hunt. Treasure hunts are an excellent opportunity for kids to get outside and have fun. Make a treasure hunt with various items found in nature and go exploring with your children.
Allow them to complete their treasure search as this is an enjoyable method to make sure they notice the outside world and elements of nature. This also allows a child to learn some practical skills as well. Awareness of one’s surroundings is a very important habit a person must learn, and engaging in a treasure hunt will help the child develop this habit.
Get creative with and for to appreciate nature
A child’s mind is filled with curiosity, and when nudged in the right direction, they can come up with some stunning ideas. Therefore, it’s very important to get creative.
Creativity does not have a range here; it could simply mean making a bouquet made of fallen flowers, leaves, and branches. If you want to take things further and indulge the child in some work, building a birdhouse is a very good way. If you do not have access to natural spaces, you can simply sit on your balcony and look for shapes in the cloud. You can also celebrate special days like ‘Earth Day’ or ‘Wildlife Appreciation Day as an adult.’
Nature has some great benefits, and we can make use of them without harming the environment. So, it becomes the responsibility of the parent or caretaker to make sure that the child is in one way or another connecting and then appreciating nature. The ways that have been listed are simple and very effective and do ensure to help build feelings of gratitude and appreciation in your child.
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