My parents raised me on the farm, working outside every day, and it taught me the importance of nature. I wanted my child to have the same benefit, even though we're living in town now.
Hiking became my outlet for reconnecting with nature once we moved out of the country. From the time my daughter was born, I took her with me and let her feel what dirt felt like and what nature sounds like.There's a creek that runs through the woods where I hike. I would sit there with her and let her listen to the running water and the melody from the birds. As she grew, I let her feel the coolness of the flowing water between her fingers.
We walked rough terrain, climbed over logs, and enjoyed a picnic at the top of a mountain summit overlooking the valley. As my daughter grew older, she turned it into a journey and made friends along the way.She named a squirrel living on the south edge Rico. Rico would venture out on a branch above us, chattering and flipping his bushy tail in annoyance at us. In time, that annoyance turned to a more welcoming version of chatter because my daughter would bring a few nuts to leave at the base of Rico's tree.
My daughter loved the salamanders, toads, and frogs she met along the way. I never saw them until she pointed them out. Her sense of wonder and curiosity made her notice things I never saw before.
My daughter's five now, and we still go hiking together every Saturday. During the week, she's got her own little natural world in our backyard outfitted with bird feeders and flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
The day's approaching fast when I know the digital age is going to take her attention from the natural world, but I'm doing all I can to make sure she enjoys it now. I want her to grow up knowing that no matter how polluted life gets with digital screens and information overload, the natural world will always be a place of escape—a place to regain some solace and balance in the midst of chaos.
It's tough to find time with today's hectic lifestyle to go out into nature on a regular basis. Here are some helpful ways you can stay in touch with nature and help your child stay connected too.Have a garden.
Gardening teaches not only self-sufficiency but also a love for how our planet is made. When your child's efforts create a plant from a seed, it gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Get a manual lawnmower.
Manual push mowers are easier for kids to handle, and you don't have to worry about the air quality your child breathes in. Educate your child about the benefits of tending for the earth.
Create a compost pile.
Help your child understand the problems excess waste creates and how composting helps return nutrients to the ground. In addition, you can also get a rain barrel and collect rainwater to teach about conservation.
Go bird watching.
Grab a book explaining what the local birds are and a pair of binoculars. Spend a day at the park or walk around town and see how many different types of birds you can find.
Go insect hunting.
Look for different insects in your backyard and discuss what they are and what they do. Teach about the benefits of insects and help dispel any fears your child may have about them.
Participate in Earth Day, Tree Day, and Wildlife appreciation Day.
Find activities online for the different days supporting our natural world. Plant a tree to help nature. Plant flowers to help the bees.
World Wetland Day
On February 2nd every year, the world observes the importance of preserving our wetlands. Discuss with your child what the wetlands are and learn about the animals living in the wetlands.
National Science Day
In India, National Science Day is celebrated to spread the message about the importance of science used in the daily life of the people. Explore scientific discoveries of our natural world with your child by finding an activity for this day online.
World Forestry Day
This day celebrates the value of forests and forestry. Go for a hike and talk about the different trees with your child or plant a tree together.
World Water Day
On March 22, the United Nations raises awareness of the world's water crisis and what can be done about it. Grab a book on beavers and teach your child all about why and how they build dams.
Celebrate Earth Day with your child by throwing a scavenger hunt, hanging birdseed ornaments, or build an insect hotel.
World Environment Day
Create an earthworm garden or plant a tree with your child for world environment day.
World Ozone Day
This is a good day to teach your child about the sun's harmful UV rays and how to protect themselves from it.
Green Consumer Day
Teach all about recycling this day and start recycling in your household if you're not already.
World Wildlife Week
During this week in October, help your child learn about the endangered animals in the world and download activities online to do together.
It won’t be long before my daughter will want to go out with her friends, and our hiking days together will be over, but I’m loving every moment of it. She’s getting harder to keep up with on our Saturday outings—she has so much energy.
Wearing the right shoes makes it easier for me to stay with her. Flexible safety shoes that move across uneven terrain from Indestructible Shoes helps keep foot fatigue away.
I was thankful one day I wore my safety shoes one day on the trail. We moved some logs to make a picnic area, and I dropped one on my foot. It didn’t hurt me, but I’m pretty sure that log would have left a painful bruise if it weren’t for my shoes!
Enjoy every moment with your child while you can, but take care of yourself at the same time. Happy hiking!