Spring is the perfect time to introduce your little one(s) to all that blooms outside! From trillium, trout lilies and leeks, to gold finches and woodpeckers. Don’t miss the opportunity to teach your cutie about the beautiful world OUTSIDE!
At our house the bird feeders are strategically placed outside the kitchen windows. (Mostly because mommy loves to watch the birds while she does dishes.) But something new has happened at our house this spring, Lydia is noticing those birdies too! She loves to watch them, attempt to count them, and tell me about their nests and singing. It’s so stinking cute and just one more thing for me to love about her ❤
I was lucky enough to have had a mom who taught me the names of birds and flowers as I grew up. She pointed them out and we had pictures of them for identification. I even remember going to Beaver Meadows and practicing this knowledge in their conservatory. Nature has always interested me. Birds, flowers, trees (not so much snakes), and many other parts of the world around us, fascinate me. Justin is a pretty big nature guy too (in case you didn’t know), so it really works out sweetly. While he was studying at ESF in Syracuse, we spent time looking for fungi together 🙂 , we sketched dragonflies at a pond behind an apartment I rented, and climbed through park ravines.
More than anything, I want Lydia to enjoy being outside just as much as we do. I want her to learn the names and interesting facts about the pieces of the world that surround her. Perhaps this will lead to less time on a device and more time acknowledging what life has to offer. Most people tell me that if we have a passion for it and share it with her, then she will be likely to enjoy it as well. I so hope this is true!
A few ways to Show Nature to Your Kiddos:
- Get a field guide of birds and plants so that you can identify different species together. They make some for small children too.
- Make a tally of different birds you see at your feeders. Each year you can compare what you’ve seen.
- Press flowers and leaves in order to make pieces of art. I have done this with leaves in the fall and it’s a pretty “masterpiece” that hangs in our bedroom.
- Take them to the park! Many state parks, (at least my favorite, Letchworth #1 in USA baby!) hold a series of walks that teach about history and nature in your park, take advantage of these learning opportunities. They are amazing!
- Take pictures or draw and discuss what you’ve seen during the day.
- Repeat the names of birds and flowers often. Learn them together. (Use that field guide).
In high school, during college and after I started teaching, I worked at Letchworth State Park. I began as a member of the South End’s Trail Crew and maintenance team and eventually became a part of the interpretation department. Along the way I learned a lot from the people that help to preserve and cherish the park. If you have older children, or you yourself are interested, you might want to consider getting involved at your local park too. I think you’ll be surprised to find out about all of the pieces of grass (there are like a hundred different kinds 😉 ), leaves, trees, birds and flowers that you pass by each day.
How do you help your children enjoy the great outdoors? Please share your ideas in the comments below or let me know what you’d like to try. I’m including links to some excellent field guides below. We have several at our house and they really are nice to have around. You can always borrow them from your local library as well!