It can be a challenge for parents to get their children outside and interested in something other than the computer or games console. It’s a difficult balance to get right.
When you were a child it’s likely that you spent more time outside than your children do. It’s sad to think we live on such a beautiful planet and our children could be missing out on some of it’s wonders and magic. So here are three ways you can get your whole family more interested and at one with nature.
|Photo credit: Flickr|
Start a nature reserve
This doesn’t require you spending a fortune on acres of land. Your children’s nature reserve is your garden. Encourage them to look for and count all of the birds, insects and flowers that have made a home in your garden. Create a project book or folder where they can store their findings. Get them to check again every few days to see if any new creatures have arrived. Nature charities would love to know what they have found, so they can track species numbers.
In the autumn and winter months you can get them building makeshift shelters for hedgehogs to hibernate in. Or give them the responsibility of their own bird feeder that they have to fill every day. Your children will feel they are making a difference and it will fill them with knowledge about all kinds of animals and insects.
|Rock pool in Caswell Bay, Swansea|
Explore a rock pool
When you’re at the seaside with your kids, go and find some rock pools you can explore. This is a great way of getting your children to interact and be curious about the ocean. You want them to be safe, so use nets when picking up anything you aren’t sure about. Get them to touch slimy seaweed and gentle hold a small crab. Encourage them to look at every part of this fascinating sea life.This is guaranteed to become a highlight of your day at the seaside.
Take them to see natural phenomena
Natural phenomenons are unforgettable and almost inexplicable. Showing your children an example of this is a great way of sparking their interest in the natural world. Treat them to a trip to see the Northern Lights in Lapland for an evening watching those unearthly colours. Or take them to see the starlings murmurations in Somerset. These little birds can create wonderful liquid like shapes in the sky which you could watch for hours.
Filling your children with wonder and intrigue is what it is all about. You want them to question and ask why these things happen. You can find out the answers together by asking experts and tour guides for more information. These days out will stay with them forever and it’s even more special because you shared the moment all together.
The trick to getting your children interested in nature is being curious about it yourself. Children are natural mimics, so if you look interested, it’s likely they will follow suit. Leave any other distractions like mobile phones at home and get discovering wildlife together.