It’s often said that too much screen time makes today’s children lazy and unmotivated. The truth is that kids of this generation aren’t any more lazy or unmotivated than the kids of previous decades. While screen time can be addictive, a lot of things will get kids out from in front of their screens, enjoying the outdoors.
It’s important to introduce kids to the magic of the outdoor world as early as you can. The sooner they begin to understand the incredible ecosystem that lies just outside the window, the more they’ll relate to it. And if you think back to what you loved when you were a kid, you’ll find that there are some very good places to start.
Birds: A Colorful, Musical Collective
No matter where in the world you live, there will be birds common to your locale. The type of birds you’ll see often depends on the kind of land that surrounds you. Close to the coastline, you’ll see more gulls and other aquatic breeds. In more rugged terrain, you may see the occasional eagle. In most domestic places in middle America you’ll see larks, blackbirds, robins and cardinals among others. A bird feeder in your garden is an excellent idea, as it will allow your kids to see these colorful guys up-close and form a bond with the natural world.
Garden Insects: Both Good and Bad
Knowing about the natural world means knowing which creatures are friendly and which are foe. Garden-variety honey bees are often seen as pests, threatening a picnic or a garden party, but they are essential to our ecosystem and really very little threat if not threatened themselves. Africanized honey bees, bred from a mix of European and East African bees, are more concerning and of more interest to a pest control company. It’s very useful for your kid to be able to spot the difference, and to recognize other insects, such as pavement ants. There are so many things to learn about insects!
Flowers and Food Plants: Beautiful and Useful
When food turns up on the table for dinner, it’s always an opportunity to give a lesson in where it comes from. Sometimes it will be something that was grown halfway across the world. Other times, it could be something your kids have planted and harvested themselves. Offering the opportunity to see something through from beginning to end like this is a great way to teach kids about nature. Planting flowers, meanwhile, shows how something colorful and special can come from something as unremarkable as a little seed.
Even without leaving their own yards, kids can learn so much about nature. Every time they step out into the outside world, it’s the chance to find out more about the world – and that’s wonderful to watch.
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