Children study nature in schools from the point of view of science; Learn the names of trees, learn about photosynthesis, and study the differences between cumulus clouds and cumulonimbus clouds. There is another aspect of nature that many people miss.
What is lacking are the inner experiences that nature stimulates, including awe, expanded perception, beauty, self-reflection, creative visions, joy, peace, inspiration, and renewal.
When you take kids out into nature and enjoy a quiet time, the silence and beauty of the natural world ignites natural wisdom, love, and creativity within your child as well as yourself. Nature experiences are true essences for the soul and are opportunities for parents and children to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Nature Encounters provides the gifts of wonder, unity, harmony, self-awareness, connectedness, and joy. Many adults and children easily solve problems and gain valuable insights into their lives while resting their minds and souls on nature excursions.
Here are 20 simple activities that you and your kids can enjoy and grow from nature.
Before you go, I recommend that everyone carry a small backpack filled with a lunch or snack, water, a sketchbook or small spiral sketchbook, colored pencils or pastels, and a zip-top plastic bag for collecting nature’s treasures like leaves, stones, feathers, etc.
The keywords for your journey are explore, feel, watch, listen, learn, enjoy, appreciate, write, draw, discover, and be silent.
Each activity lends itself to writing and drawing in your natural journal. Keep a record of your experiences.
1. Find a nice place, sit quietly for about 10 minutes, and enjoy your surroundings. Then write a poem about what you feel and see here.
2. Choose a different location than usual. Listen carefully and draw in what you hear.
3. Watch the sky, immerse yourself in it, and now imagine that you are walking in the sky. How do you look. Draw it.
4. In the resting place after a hike, find something around you that you absolutely love. What is it? Draw or write about it in your journal. Feel the love spreading all around you. Send it to everything in nature.
5. Game: Nature Statue Maker. Spin around and then stop in a pose that represents something in nature, tree, grass, river, sun, rock, ant, flower etc. When you’re done enjoying this, draw your favorite pose in your landscape journal, Why did you like it the most? Write about it.
6. Find a tree to sit next to. Close your eyes and imagine that you are having a conversation with the tree. Let her talk and talk back. Enjoy the conversation, then open your eyes and write down what you learned. Draw yourself under the tree, too.
7. Stand or sit quietly in a preferred location. Be very still. Think of a problem that has been bothering you. Watch what is happening in nature around you. Eventually, as you have noticed, an idea will pop up in your mind to solve your problem. Draw or write about it. (When we are silent, our inner wisdom and intuition come up with answers.)
8. Discovery Day. Sit still and allow something to capture your attention, something that you hadn’t noticed before. Let something new fill your consciousness. Write a story about her in your journal.
9. Collect some very small natural objects on the hike that you find interesting; Seeds, herbs, leaves, sticks, etc. Discuss what you found. Create a nature picture in your journal from these things. (Glue will be needed for this trip.)
10. The Most Beautiful Thing Game. Take a stroll and talk as you walk about the most beautiful thing you see at the moment. “The most beautiful thing I see right now is…” Repeat this as you go. Discuss why you find them cute and draw your favorite person when you’re done.
11. Magnifying Glass Journey: You can buy one for under $5.00. This adds a new dimension to nature experiences. Whatever catches your eye is a great subject to look at with a magnifying glass. Write a short poem about it when you’re done.
12. Water. Find a place with a stream, pond, river, lake, etc. and sit next to it. Be calm and imagine that you are the water. Be it and feel what the water feels like. Write and draw. Kids love this!
13. A ball of yarn. Using yarn, mark a square inside which you can sit. It can be big or small. Keep your eyes focused within the arena and notice what is happening around you. Be aware of everything inside the arena. Draw it and write some comments.
14. Silent Rise. Take a leisurely walk, with no talking allowed. Your senses will be very alert and you will notice things you wouldn’t normally do. Write or draw how silence made you feel.
15. The flower of the flower. Notice every flower you see. Pay attention to colors, leaf shape, stem size, etc. You are just looking for flowers today. When you’re done, draw your favorite picture.
16. A Journey of Gratitude. An appreciative attitude makes us better people. Encourage your children to be thankful. Walk/hike with the intention of feeling grateful for the beauty of nature, the trees, plants, and animals that cross your path. Thank the trees for their shade and yes, embrace it! We thank the flowers for their beauty, the insects, the birds and the frogs for their wonderful presence, and I thank all of nature for making our lives possible.
Say “thank you oak tree, thank you little flower, thank you yellow butterfly etc. while walking. You will feel good.
Write down what you are grateful for in nature as well as what you are grateful for in your life.
17. Meditation. Children love simple meditations. Find a quiet place and close your eyes. Have them imagine and feel peace, harmony, kindness, or beauty. Think about this thing for just 5 minutes. Write or draw.
18. Find a nice place to calm down. What sets you apart here? Is it the song of a bird, the smell of the earth, the wind, or the plants? Open your senses and smell, see, hear, and feel. When something stands out, think about what it is like for you. How is the earth, the song of birds, the plant, the wind like you? Write a poem or other thoughts about it. Pick something else that you notice and do the same.
19. Nature Cards. Take about 3 by 5 index cards with you today. Start making a deck of nature cards by drawing one natural element on each card and writing some ideas about it. Draw only things that you actually see. Put them in the index card box (recipe card box) when you get home. Build your group little by little.
20. Fantasy. In a beautiful setting, let your imagination tell the story of something you notice. You can start with the birth of the flower, tree, squirrel, ladybug etc. and then let your child continue. Go back and forth until your story is completed naturally. He paints.
Nature is the best entertainment! Enjoy it well in any season with your child.