Tips to stimulate your child's interest in the environment
(Reprinted from Leave No Child Inside of Greater Cincinnati)
- Give children a place on the porch, deck or in the bedroom where they can display nature treasures that they find and want to keep. Provide simple tools to aid discovery. Kids love tools! Include a bug box, trowel, magnifier, etc.
- When you take children to parks and other natural areas, allow them to explore. Let them decide which trails to take. Stay nearby for safety, but don't interfere or help unless asked.
- Take a few leaves from different trees while the children are not looking. Give them the leaves and ask them to find which trees they came from.
- If a child asks or remarks about a landmark or natural feature you drive past often, find out more about it and go for a visit.
- If you have an appropriate area, let older children build a campfire in the backyard. Set safety rules, then stay away while they and their friends discuss "hot" topics. Check for safety by looking out the window or wandering out to ask if they need more snacks.
- Put out bird feeders that can be seen easily from windows. Let children help feed the birds. Keep a bird book by the window to help them identify what they see.
- Make up challenges for children to do outside, similar to the Survivor television show. This is a guaranteed kid pleaser, especially if there is a reward (a "gift" of time with Mom or Dad, or perhaps a night off from helping with the dishes).