Re-Connecting with Nature and with Your Family
Talking Points and Family Ritual Ideas for Earth Day or any day:
- Write a “Thank-You” Note to “Mother Earth”, get your whole family involved, and find out what everyone appreciates most about nature. A rainy day? The smell of honeysuckle? The sound of the wind? see mine, which was featured on mamapedia last year.
- Go for a “Listening” Walk or even a 5 senses walk (careful with taste!)around your neighborhood, or even in your backyard. Every now and then, “STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN”…What do you see? What do you hear? (Ask your children, even your babies, and give them a chance to respond.) Can you observe in silence together for even a few seconds? Can you mimic the sounds? What are your favorite sounds from nature to hear? Are there any sounds that you don’t like? What do you think the creatures around you think about YOUR sounds? What do you smell? How does that feel? use my “Family Noticing Nature Walk”
- Do some bird and bug watching together. Take along some binoculars, a notebook, some colored pencils – observe, take notes, come back together, and look up more info on the species you found in a reference book or online together. Did you learn something new together? Anything that surprised you? Did you find that you noticed more because you were paying more attention?
- Set up an easel, a table with play-do or water colors, and quietly get inspired and create together in nature.
- Go for a “Blessing Nature” walk. In addition to observing, give thanks for what you see, hear, smell, and touch. Say, “Thank you God for this creek. May it keep flowing gently, and God Bless the creatures and plants that rely on it.” Read about my “Prayer Walk” in nature with MJ
- Let your child start a collection: sticks, rocks, dried flowers, sea shells… Did you have any collections when you were young? Tell your child about them.
- “Tree-Hugger”: With your whole family or just by yourself: Hug a Tree. Study a Tree. Name a tree. Plant a tree. Picnic under a tree. Read under a tree. Take a nap under a tree. Talk about the biggest tree you’ve ever seen. Do you have a favorite tree? or kind of tree? Have you ever lost a tree that you loved?
- Ask some “What if..” questions. What if you could be any animal – what would you want to be? Plant? What if you could live by the ocean or in the mountains – which would you choose? What if you could travel anywhere on the planet – where would you want to explore? Rain forest? Desert? Antarctica? the Deep Sea?
- Protect your child’s “Green Hour“ each day – unstructured time outside to explore, play, discover, use hands and senses. (As recommended by the AAP for the healthy development of our children.) Share this hour with them, and feel refreshed each day! (Or at least once a week.)
- Consider adopting the phrase “In our family, we help the Earth.” Talk about how you plan to do this, what you’re already doing, what more you can do. Compost? Recycle? No more paper towels or plastic bags? Car-pool? Have “Turn off the Lights Tuesday”? Mother Earth gives us, well, EVERYTHING? Shouldn’t we be actively helping her each day?