I am a bit behind in this but Earth Day is coming up this weekend. We usually spend Earth Day at our local nature park where tree plantings take place and so on.
The latest from Disney Nature – Chimpanzee also debuts on Earth Day. As part of this, Disney hosted an Earth Month event, the Disney Kids and Nature Celebration ran between April 12-14 in Orlando – and among other things, addressed the relationship between kids and nature today.
I am lucky in that my kids have inherited my love for the planet and the creatures that exist on it. I teach my children to respect animals….from pets to bugs. My son was in a fight once when he tried to protect a bee from being tortured by two boys. Their favourite dvd’s are the Disney Nataure and David Attenborough’s Planet Earth and Blue Planet. My daughter wants to rescue dogs when she grows up and my son did a speech in school about the various types of gecko’s that exist.
Living with two dogs, three cats and a lizard have taught my children respect of animals. I try to teach them an understanding of balance when it comes to our planet too. I do feel that many children are too removed from nature. I wonder at the kids who don’t notice the eagle flying overhead, or the raccoons shuffling past them. Love and stewardship of our world is crucial.
The people behind the Earth Month idea shared a few ideas to think about when discussing our place on this planet:
“According to Richard Louv, a Disney partner and author of the bestselling books Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle, every child needs nature. Not exactly a groundbreaking revelation – but certainly one that poses challenges when you look at your weekly calendar (where’d the white space go?).
Here’s some advice we can take away from his philosophy and the bigger discussion in Orlando:
1. Get nostalgic. Take a moment to talk to a grandparent – or even a peer – about his or her favorite nature memories from childhood – was it skipping stones? A favorite picture book about elephants? Drawing horses? Climbing trees? These simple memories might be enough to remind you just how easy it can be to make nature part of your own parenting style.
2. Think manageable. Connecting kids with nature doesn’t require a family trip to Yellowstone (phew). What it really takes is getting your kids curious about animals, wildlife and the outdoors – the world beyond their house and school. What do baby turtles eat? Why do leaves change colors? How do fish breath underwater? What kind of insect is that in your backyard? Hikes, museums, books and videos can all help spark that fascination.
3. Teach early lessons. Intuitively, we know kids need to learn about and appreciate nature. But what are the real benefits? For one, it’s a sensory explosion for their young minds. Reading about how birds build nests, watching a baby elephant play, touching a sheep’s coat, smelling a rose or digging a carrot out of the soil — all of this stimulates curiosity in young minds.
More important, however, is that it instills a love of nature. And if our kids love nature – won’t they be more likely to protect it?”
A walk to school where you spend the time looking around you..urban or suburban can reveal so much that is interesting to a small child. Ants hard at work, birds building nests…all fun things to discuss with your kids.
Library books about a child’s favorite animal, story books and colouring books, can all spark an interest in our world. Everything can be a lesson…from the why behind recycling to growing a vegetable patch in your back yard or patio.
Make everything a discussion, a teeny bit of learning about our world. Teach kids to ask questions and explore.