Sometimes life can engage us with so many things that we hardly take a moment to connect with the nature and forget to appreciate our existence in this universe. We are getting so addicted to the gifts of modern technology that we often neglect to see The Nature as our family. We feel dominant and ignore the reality that we are only co-living with other creatures on this planet. We need the climate change statistics to remind ourselves that our modernism is not fit for the Earth and now we are in a rush to label everything "eco -friendly" and "sustainable". One way to repair our recent dysfunctional relationship with The Earth is to instil the "love for The nature" in our little ones.
I grew up in Kerala where my house was surrounded by at least 7 different fruit trees in the middle of our rubber plantations which actually gave me plenty of nature time. The river was my swimming pool, tree top bench made my brother was my chill out place while sliding on areca nut leaves from uphill was the best fun ride. And I can recall from my childhood days that when my dad see me eating a fruit I have picked from our tree he would ask “ did you ask the tree if you can take that fruit from it” at first I used to think “he is silly, trees can’t talk” but later I got the notion. My parents taught me how to love and respect the land, the air, the water and everything in it through their words and actions. I try my best to pass this wonderful perspective to my little ones as well.
BC (before covid pandemic) we used to spend weekends at the beach, going long drives and exploring new places, bird watching and visiting wildlife parks. But now like everything, we had to restrict our exploring routine to local places. Lockdowns and restrictions are the new norm and the life must move on. So rather than isolating from the nature, especially in winter I try to schedule the below to our weekly routine.
Activities when pandemic restrictions still around :
1. Nature Walks
2. Bike or scooter riding
3. Parks and playgrounds
5. Nature - play based learning
7. Forest walks
8. Walk around the lakes and ponds
9. Outdoor Games
Getting over the excuses!
The only barrier to this schedule is the excuse trap which can take the shape of laziness, weather, sickness,oh well, you name it ! Yes, its true that sometimes weather can be very tricky with strong winds and freezing cold. In that case, we just rug up ourselves and spend few minutes in the backyard. Same with those sick days, gardens are the best place to be and just enjoying the sunshine. Self-motivation is the key to get over those excuse bugs!
But its same backyard everyday , I know!
The only way to get little one's interest at the same place everyday is by sparking their imagination and driving their thoughts in different routes everyday ! Every time we step out to the alfresco, I get their focus by asking curious questions and it goes likes this:
1. Can you name this plant and /or vegetables?
2. Can you spot oval grey pebbles?
3. How many birds you can count on the neighbour’s roof?
4. Which colour flower is your favourite in this pot?
I utilise this wonderful opportunity to teach them Malayalam words for the things that we spot around – “do you know what’s red colour called in Malayalam?”
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Taking a moment could be as simple as taking deep breaths that can fill you with fresh air or listening to the swooshing of leaves in the breeze outside. Perhaps, going for nature walks just to become lost in the burbles of a creek or enjoy the sight of cute little birds hopping around is all that’s enough to reconnect with the world outside our cocoons that we live in.
There is no doubt that children learn from grown-ups, so when we spent time outside with them, we are setting a good example for our future - a future that is sustainable and eco friendly by themselves !
Have you got something to add about how you spend time with the Nature?
Please comment below, I am always open to learn new things !