What does it take to create a generation of eco champs? Contrary to what we might think, it’s not so difficult. It could be as easy as:
- taking your kids outside and experiencing what nature has to offer.
- having short conversations about the state of our environment.
- doing this frequently.
Why? Because the research is clear: Kids who spend time in nature are more likely to conserve and advocate for nature as adults.
When we are outside with nature, magical things happen. Stress, anxiety and depression levels fall. Studies have shown that being outside helps kids be more creative, ingenuitive and better problem solvers. It also teaches important lessons about our interconnectedness and our dependence on nature itself.
As we look to raise a generation of eco champs, we believe, we need to instill a love of nature with our kids early in their lives and through deliberate actions.
Below you will find the first of a series of fun, low-tech, mindful activities for you to do with your kids to “Be With Nature”. They are designed to get your family active, spark conversations and build memories with nature!
Or daffodils or lavender or gardenias or whatever flowers you come across! Take a moment to stop, smell and remember that moment with nature.
Take a moment to stop, smell the flowers and get the whole family involved. They could be daffodils or lavender or whatever wildflowers you come across in your backyard, neighborhood or park.
Scent is the only sensation that travels directly to the memory centers of our brain, solidifying the scent as a memory. So you'll be making while you are smelling the flowers!
Stopping to smell or even just look at flowers can make a great learning experience (and making lifelong memories!):
- What sort of flower do you think that is?
- Why do you think bees are important to flowers?
- When you get back home, draw a picture of the flowers you saw
Did You Know:
In case you didn’t know, the phrase “stop and smell the roses” didn’t come from a famous poet or playwright. It was golfer Walter Hagen who said in his 1956 book, “The Walter Hagen Story,” that “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”Make Your Own Bird Feeder
A bird feeder gives your family the opportunity to observe the wonders of nature, right at home. Did you know, backyards with bird feeders have more and healthier birds than backyards without bird feeders?
You don’t need to buy a fancy bird feeder, our favorite bird feeder is homemade and uses a classic kid snack staple - peanut butter!
- Smear peanut butter onto a leftover toilet paper roll, then roll it in bird seed made for your local birds.
- Go outside and slide it onto a branch for your new bird friends to enjoy!
- Then, bring out your binoculars and enjoy some backyard bird watching to learn about the local birds in your yard.
Did You Know:
Are your kids loving bird watching? You can take this learning and observation one step further! Join hundreds of thousands of bird enthusiasts with over 100 million sightings and start recording your own sightings. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird project uses this data for science and conservation. Plus you can see what other birds are in your area!
A Big Question:
What bird would you want to observe in the wild?
Rocks are one of nature’s oldest and simplest canvases to get creative on! They are easy to find and come in different shapes, colors and sizes. Plus, they make for a fun kid (and adult) craft activity.
- Find some rocks in your yard or at your local park
- Using water based paint, decorate, paint a picture or write a kindness message
- Then distribute your painted rock art around your neighborhood and put a big smile on someone’s face (And because you used water based paint, you don’t need to worry about dirty chemicals leaking into the ground when it rains!)
Did You Know:
Over thousands of years, rocks break down into soil. You might not think that soil would be important, but did you know that 95% of our food comes from soil? And the healthier the soil is, the healthier our food is! Research your local soil quality and soil health.
A Big Question:
Is your area covered with healthy soil? If not, what can you do to improve soil health? How is soil health impacting you?
Go out and take a forest bath! The Japanese tapped into this powerful tool decades ago. Just being outside in a forest can reduce stress and improve moods!
While you are there, listen to the trees! Scientists say that trees talk to each other through their leaves, roots and fellow forest fungi.
Can you hear what they are saying? Take a moment to pause and listen. What are they saying? What do the kiddos in your life think they are saying?