“As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees.” -Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth
The second-last installment of this amazing series is a simple but powerful one – giving children access to nature.
I don’t know about you, but my favourite childhood memories were outdoors. I climbed countless trees, poked at hedgehogs, played in creeks and made mud slides. We built makeshift cubbies, caught butterflies, hid in bushes, lazed in the sun, watched clouds and made daisy chains. We stargazed, ate fruit from the trees, rescued baby birds who had fallen from nests and lugged big tires to the waters side to ride down the creek. We got chased by animals and stung by stinging nettle. We got caught in the rain and forgot to do chores while we were covered in grass stains and mud.
Growing up in New Zealand meant that, thankfully, we didn’t have to worry about spiders or snakes like we do here in Australia. Some of my childhood experiences with the natural world are honestly the very things that made a significant and lasting impact on me as a person. We spent (when I say we, I mean myself and my sister and/or childhood friends) spent what seemed like an eternity in the natural world. Playing. Learning. Exploring. Being.
In this fast paced society where children are overwhelmed with information and activities, spending time in nature is crucial. Simply getting outside and enjoying the natural world without any specific purpose, is so important.
Kids seem to spend so much time inside these days and there is too much pressure on parents to fill their time.
“Let Nature be your teacher.” – William Wordsworth
Children have so much to learn from nature. It’s no secret that nature and time to play freely outdoors has many benefits for kids.
I find afternoons to be the perfect opportunity for outdoors and nature play. It’s revitalizing for me as much as the kids. Whether you bring the natural world indoors, explore your own backyard, visit a local nature reserve or go camping.. just get outdoors! Show children the wonders of nature. From the smallest discoveries in a corner of a yard to a vast bush-walk with unmeasurable opportunities for exploration – every time children and nature are put together, the possibilities are vast and valuable.
Where is your child’s favourite natural space?