When we think of experiencing nature with children, often we envision a park filled with trees, a garden of vegetables or a field of flowers, but more often than not encounters with the natural world happen on a much smaller scale and in subtle ways. Lucky for us, children are keen observers. It isn’t hard for them to find nature, even in the middle of the city. It might be a roly poly discovered along the edge of a walkway and shared between two pairs of hands or a leaf taken from an ivy vine hanging over a stone wall. These small moments of nature can be powerful tools in guiding children to appreciate and wonder about nature. What children need from adults are the time to stop, observe and ask questions and the willingness to wonder along side them.
How often are we in such a hurry that we are practically pulling our children along behind us even when they see something interesting and want to stop to take a closer look? Of course there are places we have to be (and we can’t always spend an hour walking from the house to the car). But even if we just pause for a few seconds to pick a dandelion at our child’s request and feel its softness, we can let children know that what they find interesting is important and worthy of our time.