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As you take your children on nature walks – whether you are fortunate enough to live near a park or other green space, or you have to drive a few miles to such a location, remember that the “The Five Colors of Our Nature Walk” can serve many purposes simultaneously.
Of course you want your kids to have fun and learn to enjoy nature for its own sake. And you also want to spend quality time with them which will build pleasant memories that they can draw on in the future.
But it’s good to also use these nature walks as outdoor classrooms to introduce your children to all kinds of subjects from chemistry to math, and even to technology in a healthy manner. Really, chemistry, math, and various kinds of technology are part of our lives every single day – many kids grow up just not knowing that!
Prepping the young Scientist:
Regular nature walks can inspire a young scientist to want to learn how to protect trees from insects. Watching trees being pruned by professionals (which happens occasionally!) can introduce them to technology – the proper tool for the proper purpose.
Books written for the youngest readers, such as my own “The Five Colors of Our Nature Walk”, can be used as starting points to launch kids dreams into a variety of potential futures – for example, if you love nature what kind of jobs could you get?
Green spaces need to be cared for – there’s the art of landscaping, which is a creative job, and there’s the art of caring – mowing lawns, trimming trees, planting flowers and weeding, which is all part of creating something beautiful. Kids can also learn about becoming park rangers or ranchers if they really want to embrace the outdoor life, or architects who always design with “green” in mind if their goal is to make – or keep – their city beautiful.
These may sound like difficult concepts for very young kids to grasp – but kids from 3 to 5 years old will love to learn how to create beauty, and kids from 6 to 8 years old are already thinking of the future and what they want to be when they grow up.
Journaling for the young:
Your youngest children may be unable to read or write, but don’t let that stop you from keeping a journal for each child. You write down the day and the walk you took, and help your child paste in a leaf from a tree, or dried flower petals, or print out a photo you let them take with your smart phone to paste into the journal.