Most children are curious explorers, so you don't need to do much to cultivate their nature connectedness — just take them outside! The challenge is more about how to get out of their way while keeping them AND the plants and critters safe.
Ick. Ew. Gross.
These are a few words adults say about nature — in front of kids. I don't think we even realize it.
Did I love finding a snail on my kitchen ceiling? Or an entire nest of baby spiders, on a stick, in my living room? Not exactly.
To cultivate nature connectedness, fuel my son's curiosity and keep plants and critters alive, we have rules:
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- No snails in the house.
- Worms can't do yoga.
- No slugs in the hand (the sticky trail is impossible to get off).
- Toilet paper can help relocate spiders.
- Bees are fun to watch, not touch.
- Ant hills are best observed from a distance.
- Caterpillars need to be released to morph into butterflies or moths.
- To avoid heartbreak, don't get too attached, e.g., ladybugs are heart-breakers — they will land and quickly fly away.
- Wasps and bees need space because they can sting.
- Leave some snails behind to work in the garden and for other kids to find.
Don't get me wrong, I will let him swat mosquitoes!
Tools you may find useful:
- Bug bungalow or a mason jar with air holes (much better than pockets)
- Butterfly net
- Magnifying glass
- Dip net (to explore streams and ponds)
- Tips from our 30×30 Nature Challenge (to inspire your outdoor explorations any time of year!)
How have you successfully taught the kids in your life about touching, holding and exploring nature safely?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green