Recent studies have shown that Americans are spending less time outdoors. Many of us work in a cubicle or are driving in a car with no time for a “forest bath”. With little ones at home there’s nothing better than to say, “Let’s go for a nature walk!” Here are my top 3 tips to engage your toddler on a walk:
1) BRING SUPPLIES – snacks, magnifying glass, a baggie for collecting, crayons and paper. It’s amazing how the world looks under a magnifying glass. If your child is inspired have them draw a picture of what they see. Be sure to start a collection with your toddler of interesting walks or leaves. You can bring them home and study them together later.
2) USE YOUR 4 SENSES - See, hear, smell, and touch. Skip the taste sense – you don’t want your toddler eating dirt! Listen and identify birds, look at the clouds in the sky and smell the air or flowers. Pick up a rock and feel it’s shape in your hands.
3) TAKE IT SLOW AND PAUSE WHEREVER YOUR CHILD TAKES YOU. Let your child lead the walk. If they want to stop at a patch of dirt and look for rocks let them. You may only go for a short walk but there’s so much to learn from a patch of dirt or a spider’s web that you find along the way.
Sharing the natural world with your toddler inspires them to have a love of nature and for the earth itself. What an amazing gift to share that love with your child. Happy walking!
By Kathy Minton/Happy Owl Kid Aps