Help your child discover nature in our urban jungle

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  • Nature and wilderness aren’t always away from civilization. Trees, public parks, anthills in vacant lots and other natural havens in cities can be an educational experience too.
  • With active participation, you can help children explore, play and grow freely among such urban-natural surroundings to ensure they become future conservationists.
  • This shift in perspective is not only essential to our planet but to our own survival as well.

We live in an increasingly urban world. And it’s no secret that children are losing out on open spaces to play, interact and explore nature freely. In our attempt to create protected housing communities, are we growing a generation detached from its environment and captivated by bright screens?

Not really.

With a slight change in perspective and a little guidance, you can find natural havens for children to connect with in your own surroundings. Here’s how.

Change the way you see nature

Nature isn’t just the lush Amazonian forests or the rolling plains of the African Serengeti you see in documentaries. In fact, it is all around us. And we are a part of it. It can be found in the trees in city parks, in anthills of vacant lots, or in caterpillars within a cluster of bushes.

Embrace the outdoors

Child playing with falling leaves in urban city

If nature is so accessible, why don’t we access it? Because we’ve been taught to think that natural spaces are detached from where we live. According to a research by the Nature Conservancy of the U.S., most kids stay indoors because they think that natural areas near their homes are absent.

You don’t always need to take expensive trips to wildlife reserves. Sometimes, a short walk around your block or a drive to the neighborhood park can be an adventure.

Let them grow up as growers

Do you remember the first time you sprinkled a small dish of soaked cotton with raw beans as a school project and watched in awe as the bean sprouted to reveal the wonderful process of life? Thankfully, this is a tradition that most schools worldwide continue to follow.

Encourage your children to do so, themselves. Let them observe and talk to your children about it. In this way, you would have instilled the spirit of conservation in their minds. Furthermore, growing edible plants will inspire them to eat healthy too.

What a great way to enjoy the fruit of labor!

Let them run wild

In our urge to protect children, we tend to create strict rules and regulations. But children are born scientists – driven by curiosity. While adults may sit back and appreciate serene landscapes, children want to huddle in one spot, dig the soil, climb the trees, touch the bugs and take-home souvenirs like rocks, leaves or flowers.

Obviously, you can set a boundary on what to pick and not, but don’t let it frustrate their opportunities to explore and experiment.

Participate and have fun!

Being grown up doesn’t mean outgrowing your own sense of wonder. If your child is peering over a line of busy ants, get on all fours and join in the observation. This way, not only do you safeguard the ants, but also guide your child’s mind towards the curiosity of asking “Why” and “How”.

Who knows, you could learn something in the process too!

How to pick a spot your child will love?

Having your own backyard and garden is naturally the best option. If this is not possible, heading to public parks is also a good alternative. Children enjoy places filled with other children.

To discover the locations, a short search on Google Maps will give you a ton of results. Also, you can always take advice from other parents, teachers or explore your neighborhood to find a natural retreat.

So, why is the presence of nature, a crucial factor in our children’s’ lives? Today’s children are the citizens of tomorrow and by instilling a sense of importance towards Mother Nature in our young ones, we may help them become responsible adults seeking to protect the fragile ecosystem of our planet and therefore, ensure the survival of human beings.

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