Day 29 | 30 Days to Transform Your Play
In every grain of sand there is a story of the earth ~ Rachel Carson
We have left the best until last. I think I can say with great certainty that today’s topic has had the most profound impact on how I view play. Today we are talking about connecting with the natural world.
When Jack was born we lived in tropical North Queensland. The weather was glorious pretty much all year round. We were surrounded by rainforest and coral reef. Our neighbourhood parks were always lush green; the weather beckoned you to be outside.
I remember taking Jack for a walk one morning and I was struck by a strange feeling of emptiness; our neighbourhood was bursting with children, we would see them all walk to and from school each day, but outside of that our streets and parks were empty. Where were all the children?
Being a new mum, I didn’t realise at the time that this was an ongoing discussion amongst parents, parenting professionals and child psychologists; this concern that our increasingly wired-in lives was having a very profound effect on how our children connected with the natural world.
Like most of you I am sure, while I watched morning cartoons, I also spent huge chunks of times playing around our neighbourhood, riding my bike, making cubbies in the long grass on the empty house block behind ours and playing in old abandoned buildings.
But somewhere along the way things changed; kids moved inside. We have TV channels now with a target audience of young toddlers and up which run cartoons all day, we have tablets for kids (and shockingly, for babies!), we have hand-held gaming consoles. Families are increasingly bombarded with new ways to plug in our kids. Our children’s time is sucked away.
Let’s get our kids outside more! Get them out in the garden, out in the yard. Shoes off, toes in the grass, hands in the mud.
Connecting with Nature
- Take a bush walk or head to the beach.
- Go slowly, go at their pace.
- Look at all the wildflowers and the ants nests or just sit in the sand
- Collect sticks and rocks and seed pods; shells and pumicestone
- Take time to just be
- Bring nature inside with you – create a nature table
- Get some tools for observing
- magnifying glass
- bug viewer
- sketchbook and pencils
- Get some field guides for your local area
- look for ones with large colour photographs – we have native flowers, insects, reptiles and birds
- Make time outside a priority
- Green 30 – Everyday. At least 30 minutes outside connecting with nature
- build a kitchen garden
- take a nature walk
- search for insects in the yard
- weed a garden
- plant some flowers
- make a herb garden
- make a window sill garden outside your child’s window
- build a stick fort… at least 30 minutes everyday…more if you can!
- Find a balance of screen time which you are happy with – take steps to reduce that time to an amount you are comfortable with
- Once a month take a trip out of town and into nature
If you missed a post, here’s the rest of the series.
Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s posts on Racheous – Lovable Learning