Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Children and Nature

Every child needs to see the sun rise and set, see the weather turn from fair to foul, feel the heat and humidity of summer and the biting cold of winter - to learn the local cycles that tell of weather-to-come, of seasons turning, and of time passing in the day. 

(This is post is inspired by my re-reading of Last Child in the Woods.)

* Children need nature more than they need tablets, iPads, laptops, television, video games, computers or any other electronic device.

* In my experience, even young infants are naturally observant of and often delighted by animals and insects and creatures of all sorts. I've watched my infant grandson carefully track ants as they crawled along our deck, giggle at squirrels, listen in awe to birdsong, hold his hands out to brush against shrubbery as we walk past, reach up to touch leaves in trees, and poke his fingers into the crevasses of the bark on an old oak tree.

* All children, from newborn on up, need time outside every day - even in inclement weather (even if only for a few moments in very bad weather). Children need to absorb sunshine, listen to cicadas, feel soft grass underfoot, sweat and slap off mosquitoes, observe clouds rolling by, dance in the rain, thrill to thunder, be awed by lightening, squish mud thru their toes, roll in the snow, slide on the ice, catch snowflakes on their tongues, watch the sunset, count stars, and more.

* Children best learn many things - but most especially about their world - by experiencing, by touching and smelling and hearing and tasting. A video of "nature" cannot replace walking barefoot in a meadow: feeling soft grass and bumpy rocks and damp earth underfoot while warm sun or soft rain or chill snow falls on your face - breathing in the scents of grasses and flowers and warm earth - hearing the whisper of gentle breezes or the roar of blustery winds thru the leaves of trees, and or hearing varied birdsong, or the scree of a hunting hawk, or the chittering of squirrels...

* Children need time and space to get muddy and dirty.

More to come as I continue reading and pondering!