This viral video was posted on my mom’s Facebook group and when I watched it I was a bit sad but so relieved because my husband and I have always kept nature and the great outdoors high on the priority list for our little one.
Every summer my husband and I head to his families cottage on Lake Ontario and we spend time walking barefoot, eating from the garden, exploring the shores and swimming for hours on end. Before we had kids I’d always say how amazing it would be to have all this at your fingertips as a kid. My husband grew up on the very same island and spent his summers building forts, playing with other islanders and being a real kid. He had he childhood you could only dream of. It was full of adventures and memories that have shaped him into the wonderful person he is today.
Now that we have our first child, spending time at the cottage is even more important. Giving our son idyllic summers in the sun is our goal. For three weeks this summer we spent time feeding the chickens, watching the lambs, eating vine ripened tomatoes and splashing in the waves. Our goal is to make the natural world a big part of our children’s lives from a very young age.
Here’s how we let our 14-month-old explore nature:
- Let Them Be – He takes his time and takes it all in. He is always reminding me to stop and smell the roses. As a busy mom I always have the urge to rush him to day care and home for dinner or off to swimming lessons but what he gains from stopping and touching, looking, and learning is invaluable.
- Ask Them Questions – Any chance for our 14 month old to hear new words is so important. When we see a bird he’s never seen before I will say, “Is that a hawk? Do you see the hawk in the sky? Wave hello to the hawk, Oliver.” Sometimes I feel a tad foolish but what’s really foolish is not taking that teachable moment by the horns.
- Give Them A Task – We taught our son to pick some grass and stick it into the coop to feed the chickens! He feels a huge sense of accomplishment when he successfully gets his blades of grass into the coop and is so satisfied by helping feed the chickens.
We are fortunate to have a place to take our kids in the summers but through-out the rest of the year we have to be very cognizant of getting our little one outside in nature because we live in a condo with a small porch. Going outside can be a big production if you let it be. A simple walk around the block or a trip to the park to enjoy nature is all it takes to keep building that love of the great outdoors. <3
How do you help instill a life long love of nature in your children?
PS: I’ll be sharing this post on these fabulous blogs!