We have always been that family that didn’t put much thought into nature or the environment. Neither my husband nor myself would ever have been considered outdoorsy, and we lived a lifestyle that consisted of Netflix-working-eating-repeat. We were absolutely in sleepwalker mode.
Not long ago we started to have a bit of an “awakening”, which has led us to become interested in reconnecting with nature, growing our food, and changing the way we eat and how we manage our home. We are slowly turning into full blown hipster douchebag born again hippies.
When we realized that the nature aspect was missing from our lives, we also recognized our responsibility to help our children develop a love for nature as well. From what I can see the modern world is a giant toilet bowl, and we are all circling the drain in blissful ignorance of how to actually take care of ourselves. We have become pretty interested in things like modern homesteading, self sufficiency and methods of sustainable off grid living.
We are trying to help our children develop a love of nature as well. This can be difficult as we live in a Godawful shoebox in the middle of an urban nightmare. However we have found the following activities helpful for exploring nature with kids (even in the city).
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Simple Ways to Help Children Reconnect with Nature- Even if you Live in the City
Go for Nature Walks and Explore
I am totally that mom who tends to be in a big ol’ hurry to do sweet fuck all. Lately I have been trying really hard to slow down, and allow my toddler to explore even the small pieces of nature all around us in the city. He is particularly fond of looking for worms (and picking them up and throwing them at me because kids are assholes) or bugs. We are fairly lucky to live near a large park so going for a nature walk is pretty easy despite living in the city.
Hands-On Nature: Information and Activities for Exploring the Environment with Children
Scientoy Microscope for kids, 100X,400X and 1200X Magnification with Prepared Slides,Science Toys for Children, Blue/Yellow
Plant All the Things!
Since we have started this quest to reconnect with nature, we have spent a lot of time attempting to grow food in our small suite. Part of our motivation was to have the kids be involved in the hopes that they would develop a love for nature.
It’s in that spirit that planting, watering, and harvesting end up being a family activity that we encourage the kids to actively take part in. My toddler says good morning to our plants, he feeds our aquaponics fish and he waters and sprays our plants with water. We have made him the caretaker of these things and you can see that he loves his role in this when he’s not busy fucking my house up like a demented tornado.
Cleaning up at Local Parks
I truly NEVER thought I would see the day that I would take my kids around the park and pick up the garbage of strangers but here we are. This activity is a good way to teach little ones to respect nature, and to demonstrate the little things we can do to spread kindness and make the world a little bit better.
A little fucking civic responsibility never hurt anyone (#boringmomgoals!)
Collecting Items for Crafting
My toddler is an avid rock collector. Every time we go out he wants to grab rocks and its too much really.
If we find big enough rocks, we like to take them home and paint them. Similarly there are so many crafts you can do with pine cones and leaves etc. and kids just love doing shit like this. They are truly deep in the freaky fucking hoarder phase of life.
Bonus points if you decorate rocks and leave them around to brighten a strangers day. We found this amazing little beauty one day and it was a major pick me up even for a crabby old bitch like me.
Scavenger Hunts and Exploring
If you have small kids, chatting about the things you see all around you can be a great way to keep them focused and engaged. A pro tip is that it’s also a great way to distract small minds from constantly melting down when they aren’t allowed to run into traffic like kids seem to love to do.
How you approach this activity can depend a lot on the child’s age and where they are developmentally. Some things we do with our toddler are looking for specific colors, flowers, items, animals (ie: cats or dogs) and then when we find them we try and talk about them a little. You could also go out with a structured list of items to find.
Hungry for More?
While this list is full of things that we do here, there are lots of other resources out there for exploring nature with kids. Here are a few:
A Note about Mindfulness
These things are not only good for the kids but they are also pretty great for Moms (and Dads) too. It can be so easy to get all wrapped up in work, and making dinner, and all the other mundane bullshit in life that sometimes we forget to look around us.
When you explore nature with kids you can really see just the wonder they have and how much they are still connected to it. It can be a really humbling experience and an exercise in mindfulness to just connect with your kids and soak it all in as they explore nature. I highly recommend it!
Give these things a try, and let us know how it goes in the comments! And if you liked this post, please Share or Pin it!