In today’s world, many of you young parents are hurting financially. You may feel guilty because you can’t give your children the material things you may have been able to before this recession hit. That’s okay, folks. Don’t feel bad. Why? Because, parents, you have the whole world of nature to share with your children. The best part? It’s free and right outside your door!
A love of nature is one of the best gifts you will ever give your children. Material things will be forgotten. The days parents spend outdoors with their children will be in their hearts and memories forever. Teach your children to respect and love nature.
Exploring nature with children can reopen a parent’s eyes to the wonders of nature. Watch a baby who sees a butterfly for the first time. You will see how amazed he is by the butterfly’s colors and movements. My toddler grandson discovered dandelion seed pods this past summer. Whenever he spots a dandelion gone to seed, he runs to grab it and blows away! As the seeds scatter to the wind, he wears a big, happy grin of delight.
There are so many ways parents can help to nurture a child’s delight in nature. Lay down on the grass and look up at the clouds as they move across the sky, changing shapes as they move. What do you see in the clouds? It is always fun to listen to children as they let their imaginations go wild. Participate, parents, by talking and laughing with them. Let them know this time together is special for you, too.
While you are laying there on the grass, listen to the sounds of nature around you. Do you hear birds singing, squirrels and chipmunks chattering, bees buzzing, toads croaking? Help your children learn the differences between the sounds they are hearing. Listen carefully and you will be amazed by all of the creatures you’ll hear.
Now smell the air that surrounds you. Breathe deeply. Have the children talk about what they smell. Do you smell a neighbor’s corn field, mowed grass, or flowers? Just relax and let the quiet and peacefulness of nature fill your soul.
Parents, when it’s raining outdoors, don’t pull out your umbrella. Grab your children and go play in the rain! Enjoy the fresh, cool feel of the water falling. If it’s not raining outdoors, get out the sprinkler and run through it. I guarantee your children and you will be giggling in glee. An afternoon playing like this with your child is priceless.
Do you remember the joy of squishing mud through your fingers and toes as a child? Feeling the cool, slimy mud felt so weird, but it was fun. There’s no law that says parents can’t do this along with their children. Play like a child. No cost at all!
These are all free activities that parents can do with their children. Let go of your financial worries about the recession and play! Exploring nature, laughing, talking, and sharing time together is a gift. A free gift for both of you! Your children will probably not remember this recession. But children will always remember their parents spending time outdoors teaching them to love nature.