Connect With Nature At Home
At times when the great outdoors is not accessible, we can often miss our kids having the opportunity to connect with nature. Exploring and experiencing nature is an important part of a child’s development, whether through learning or playing. But when you are stuck indoors, you don’t have to be completely disconnected from the outside world. Let's take a look at a few ways you can bring nature inside the home for your little ones to keep on exploring.
Nurture Your Houseplants.
Growing and nurturing plants can be a fantastic way of engaging your kids with nature as they learn to care for the plants and watch them grow. Start off simple, with something easy and fast growing. Cress seeds can be grown on a piece of wet cotton wool. Place the damp cotton wool in half an empty egg shell, draw a funny face on the shell, sprinkle the cress seeds on top, and by the end of the week you’ll have green cress hair growing! If you are looking for a longer term plant project then the aloe vera is a friendly plant that needs little watering and not much maintenance, being resilient and forgiving if it does get neglected. If your children will get excited by a plant with a darker side Venus Flytraps can be exciting and fascinating
Another handy way of nurturing indoor plants is to cultivate a herb garden. Your kids will enjoy learning about the different herbs, where they come from and what they smell like. This can be a valuable way of engaging them in cooking too, enabling them to have their very own grown ingredients within the mix!
Plan Your Next Adventure.
The next best thing to being on an adventure? Planning it! Until you're able to get out and about again, have your children dream up what adventure they would like to go on next. Get them to plan the details; how you are going to get there, how much food they need to take, what they want to pack in their bags, download a map and plot a route, how far are they going to walk, how long is going to take…. You’ll be planning a virtual Everest expedition before you know it!
Create an indoor expedition with a mock up map for your children to follow. They might have to scale the waterfall (stairs), avoid the lava in the hall, dig through their sock draw to find hidden treasure and finish with a night inside their own bedroom den with head torches and hot chocolate. The greatest adventure is found in the imagination - these are just a few ideas of how to capture it!
Explore Through Education.
There is so much for your kids to discover about nature through books and TV programs. With hundreds of fun and engaging books out there, from pop ups to encyclopedias, you will have their adventurous imaginations running wild. For any budding David Attenborough, there are many kid-friendly nature programs available that will inspire and make their TV time worthwhile.
Education doesn’t have to be restricted to books and programs. Play is an important part of learning and development too. Plenty of nature themed toys and games are just waiting to be played with by new imaginations. Endless hours of fun can be had with a collection of animal figures - the bigger the collection, the better the adventure! Order a nature themed puzzle and have them working away at it for hours (or days…). The possibilities are endless!
Introduce a nature theme into their arts and crafts time. This might look like painting a favourite animal or a nature scene, creating collage using nature magazines, or even making their own nature journal or photo book to document their indoor adventures, ready to move on to the outdoor ones. Why not try making wreaths together? This festive decoration isn’t just for Christmas. Encourage them to make it their own according to the season, including flowers and plants that are in bloom at the time.
Be Window Watchers.
Wildlife still exists within your four walls. Inside the home you will likely have a few creepy crawlies waiting to be spotted by eager eyes. Let your kids find and explore these little critters as they are a part of nature too!
Encourage them to spend time at the window. There is so much to see just from that spot. It might be nearby bugs, or birds on a feeder further away - there is plenty to discover when they take the time to stop and look. Why not dedicate a special nature spot near a window especially for your little ones to spend time watching nature take its course outside. This can be a great time to document in their nature journals too!
Engage The Senses.
Did you know that even just looking at pictures of nature scenes can make us feel similar to actually spending time in it? As well as this, listening to sounds of nature can help to relax us and improve our mood. So along with the many activities you can do with your little ones, there are subtle ways that you and your family can connect with nature as you get on with your day to day life too. Change your screensaver to a nature scene, listen to wildlife or running water as you eat, or diffuse some essential oils that will improve the atmosphere of your home.