My son has always been interested in the world around him. Since he was just a few years old, he enjoyed planting gardens, collecting rocks and digging up fossils.
We live in a large metropolitan area, and for the last three years, we’ve spent our vacation at a remote fishing resort. There, our son is in his element. He catches toads, collects bugs, learns about wildflowers and picks up rocks on the beach.
The previous year had been particularly challenging for our family. I lost my job, my husband had health issues and our son was struggling in school. We were all anxious, stressed out mentally exhausted.
A few days into our vacation, my husband and I noticed a pretty significant difference in our son’s behavior. He was much calmer, less distracted and less anxious. Sure, we were on vacation, but it wasn’t just the break from school. Surrounded by trees, wildflowers and birds, he was engaged with his environment and was soaking it in.
The light bulb when on: I suddenly had a deeper understanding of why he “dilly-dallies” on the way to school, picking up sticks and leaves, spotting insects on plants and pointing out birds flying overhead. I understood why he plays in the bushes instead of playing with kids in the park after school. He’s found a way to tune out the car horns, the airplanes flying overhead and all the other noises that come with living in a big city. Engaging with nature calms him.
It was then that I knew I needed to encourage his love of nature and get him out in it as much as possible. That’s what this website is all about—getting kids outside and engaging them in the natural world around them.
Regardless of where you live, opportunities to experience nature are all around you. From gardens and parks to beaches and flowerbeds, nature is free, accessible to everyone and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I hope our love of nature inspires you and your children, grandchildren — the kids in your life — to get outside and take in the world around you.