If we want our children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it. Perhaps this is what Thoreau had in mind when he said, “the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.”
- David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia
Children today have few opportunities for outdoor free play and regular contact with the natural world. The culture of children playing outside during childhood is gone and their everyday life has shifted to indoors. As a result children's opportunity for direct and spontaneous contact with nature is a vanishing experience of childhood.
Today with children's lives disconnected from the natural world their experience are predominately mediated in media, written language and visual images. Children are losing the understanding that nature exists in their own backyards and neighborhoods, which further them from knowledge and appreciation of the natural world. Not only does the loss of children's outdoor play and contact with natural world negatively impact the growth and development of the whole child and their acquisition of knowledge, it also sets the stage for a continuing loss of the natural environment.
Studies have shown that the children benefit a lot from interacting closely with nature like developing emotionally and intellectually. It supports their creativity and problem solving skills, improves academic performance, improves their social relations, eyesight, physical activity and self-discipline, reduces stress and attention deficit disorder [ADD] in children.
Here is 7 ways to can make your child a happy little green kid:
1. Getting back children outside is more important than ever for the child and the future of our planet. Spending time outdoors at a young age is critical to creating a healthy conservation ethics.
2. Make it a point to plant trees on a regular basis and get your child involved in the whole process, even if it means 4-5 potted plants in your balcony. Teach them to take care of them.
Pic courtesy: Adrian Murray
3. Enroll them for a monthly class of planting activities for kids offered in your area.
4. Recycling is a great way to teach children the importance of nature and also it makes them feel like they are contributing to environmental conservation.
5. Encourage your child not to litter, show them by example how to hold onto their trash until they find a trashcan.
6. Make a “Green Hour” a new family tradition, giving children time for unstuctured play in the natural world.
7. Schools can encourage more naturalized play environments like trees, bushes, flowers, ponds, animals, birds, butterflies etc and not depend too much on manufactured equipment for the child to explore and interact with.
We at Little Green Kid are constantly working on ways to encourage children to spend time with nature. Today, 21st March, is a wonderful opportunity to open our doors to know more about nature by experiencing it as world over people celebrate International Day for Trees and Forests. Wish you a great green day and please share your fun times as teachers and parents with u at firstname.lastname@example.org
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