One of our favourite family activities is going for hikes and exploring nature. From a young age, my partner and I have instilled the beauty of our environment and importance of appreciation for it, within our daughter. Every experience is an opportunity to teach and learn, to inquire and discover, to uncover and reflect. These moments are weaved into every day, not just on Earth Day. We are raising a future caretaker of Earth, so it is important that we ensure our daughter understands that what she does can have an impact. Here are some of the ways we take moments to reflect, respect, and appreciate our planet, that you can weave into your everyday lives.
Exploring It is so important for children to explore their environment using all of their senses. Smelling the flowers, touching the tree bark, hearing the birds chirp, watching the butterflies float through the air, and tasting the maple sap on the tip of their tongue. Each sensation deepens the experiences.
Reuse, Renew, Recycle
Some of our favourite materials for creative art come from our recycling bin. Using old egg cartons, paper towel rolls, empty boxes has become so normal in our home that our daughter, Charlie, has begun saving toilet paper rolls on her own for her creations. Material doesn’t just need to be from your blue bin. Look in your loose parts drawer or an old toolbox in your garage, there may be items in there that can be used to create with. Buttons can be used as counting tools and varying screws can be used to sort, developing fine motor skills and cognitive thinking. Reusing items in new ways teaches our children that not everything is disposable.
Let it Grow Children seem to derive so much joy from planting a seed and watching it grow. This is the third year that Charlie has planted a garden, from seed to produce, and each year, her excitement heightens. While we usually purchase seeds to plant, last year we decided to see what would grow from the fruit and vegetables within our own home. This was a great opportunity to make hypothesises about whether the yogurt covered raisin would grow faster than the pepper seeds. Side note: the pepper won. By a landslide. Planting and tending to a garden can develop a child’s appreciation for nature and the work it takes to produce the fruit and vegetables that we consume.
Creating habitats is our newest way of appreciating mother nature. Visiting petting zoos and seeing how animals live, provides up close experiences for children to nature. Last year, Charlie was so curious about snails and caterpillars. To encourage that curiosity, we researched as much as we could about them and created our own habitat to house them for a couple of days before releasing them back into the world. This experience provided more depth into Charlie’s curiosity and findings.
Finding moments to celebrate our planet and weave experiences into our everyday lives, can prepare our children for the important task of caretaker that they will soon hold.