‘But how do I get them to begin to like nature?’ was the question.  A friend complained of her ‘switched off’ from nature but electronic gadget loving children, blind to what was going on outside their window. My answer? ‘Try some of these easy steps for your five and seven year old’.

Readers of this blog will be the type who understand that young children living their childhoods indoors has to be balanced with time spent in play and exploration outdoors. A recent article in Psychology Today repeats what we all know about these benefits.

My list of 20 easy steps:

  1. talk about something that will interest them at meal time: dinosaurs, fossils, tree felling, etc
  2. do you know where that loofah came from? Connect their belongings to their natural origins
  3. keep fruit bowl topped up & add an unususal fruit – do they know names, origins, facts?
  4. bring a plant to clean the air, e.g. spider plant, rubber plant – explain why & they can choose one
  5. have a calendar of the natural world – those photos are amazing discussion starters
  6. adopt a lion, tiger, elephant, donkey, rescue dog, cat – who do they want to help?
  7. have a once a week vegan day and celebrate plant based diets with interesting food
  8. take photos of what you spot outdoors when you take a walk, go to the shops, etc
  9. do you know the names of your local trees?
  10. plant herbs in a window box and eat them in your food
  11. make an easy bird feeder and keep where you can spot the birds feeding
  12. compost your leftovers in a small caddy and use the result in your planting
  13. avoid electronic devices on car journeys – play games, talk, I spy…
  14. tell me about something interesting you spotted outside today when we fed the ducks
  15. join the local community allotment scheme as a volunteer and go even once a month
  16. rescue centres always look for dog walkers and cat strokers
  17. sit in the sun and just close your eyes for 10 minutes
  18. visit a garden centre and select a plant, bird feature, seeds,  or just look
  19. be aware of your water usage by getting a water saving device, e.g. a timer for the shower
  20. put up bird and wildlife identity sheets where you can see them and tick when you spot any.

Make time for nature in your life by cultivating a bit of time for ‘boredom’ without an electronic device! Look about you and engage your senses, become involved and feel like you are making a difference.