Ways to encourage your Little Adventurers - Ideas for active children!
One way we can all help shape the future of our planet is by encouraging our little ones to keep it healthy. And one of the most fun ways of doing that is to let them explore it. Exploration can engender a sense of pride and respect for all that they discover. So, head outside to the woods, the park, the back garden…anywhere they can have a bit of freedom to forage.
Growing: let your little one choose a plant they’d like to grow. Whether they opt for a sunflower, a tomato plant or a pot of pansies, the fact they’ve chosen it gives them a sense of ownership and helps maintain their interest in caring for it enough to see it grow. It’s a lovely opportunity to discover how to care for and nurture plants, as well as teaching little ones about respect for living things. Growing vegetables is a great way to encourage toddlers to eat them afterwards too! You could try growing tomatoes and peppers to put on a pizza, or even a small pot of basil on the windowsill which they can then try too.
Trips to the woods or park: this is always a fun way to fill a morning or afternoon. Wellies on for a traipse around the local park or woods where they can stomp around in leaves and puddles will brighten the greyest days. It also gives youngsters the chance to see the nature around them in its natural beauty, and in every season. Challenge them to list the colours and shapes they see, perhaps prepare a scavenger hunt card where they can tick off all the things they can find, for example, acorns, red leaves, twigs, spider webs, a purple flower. Looking at nature as the home to many plants and animals encourages little ones to understand how important it is to keep our planet as we find it. It is easy to notice the blot on an otherwise beautiful landscape discarded litter can be, which in turn can give you the opportunity to discuss the impact it can have on wildlife and habitats and how to dispose of litter responsibly.
Join a local litter picking group: some communities organise a monthly tidy up for their area. Joining in will not only give your little one a sense of responsibility, but also a sense of community spirit. Joining forces to achieve a common goal fosters self esteem and feelings of pride in those who take part. Watching you taking part too is perhaps the most powerful way to convey the message that caring for our planet is an important value. The fact that you are spending quality time together doing something so loving for our planet only serves to strengthen those values of kindness and respect. If your area does not currently participate in a scheme like this, perhaps you and your little one could have a go at organising one for your neighbourhood. Start small with just your close neighbours. Word may spread and you’ll have a small team before you know it!
Planting communities: some areas also have opportunities to get together to plant flowers or even trees and shrubs around the local neighbourhood. Even just a small patch can have a huge impact on wildlife conservation, with wildflowers known to attract bees and insects. Perhaps you could start in your own garden, planting a small patch of meadow flowers. Your little one could help plan and design the area, choose the plants and then help plant it. again, it’s a great opportunity for your child to learn about how to care for and nurture the wildlife around them. Once its grown, you could even have your own bug hunt to see just what types of insects you have manages to attract.
Children learn best when they’re having fun doing it. Letting them explore nature in their own way will give them a fantastic learning experience without them even knowing it, as well as helping to foster a general sense of respect for their surroundings. It’s these qualities that will follow children well into adulthood and ensure that our personal impact on the planet has the best possible outcomes.
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