I have mixed feelings of delight and sadness as Earth Day approaches – it’s a wonderful celebration of our planet and its’ beauty and grace, but I’m also reminded at how much we’ve endangered the survival of our planet. As such, I’m torn as to how best to mark the occasion of April 22nd
on Earth day – do I participate in clean-up events, take my son to the park or make a more conscious effort to re-use and recycle and ban any/all plastic water bottles in my house for good? I decided that what I really want to do is to just enjoy spending time outside as a family and to celebrate nature. I believe that instilling a love and appreciation of nature is the best way to foster more care for the earth. Plus – our family could all use some more outdoor recreation time, especially with this never-ending winter we’re experiencing in the Mid-West (I’ll save the accuracy of Groundhog predictions for another post). The research is fairly compelling on the benefits of nature play (besides happier kids and families). Being outside helps strengthen the immune system (which I always thought was a myth – but it’s true), helps with focus and concentration and more active kids is the best predictor of being an active adult. So – in celebration of Earth Day, I’ll be taking our family and our bug box to collect some critters, rocks, twigs (and snow) to the park! I also wanted to pass along some great Earth Day resources if you’re looking for activities/resources for your family.
- For great kids book recommendations that celebrate the earth – check out Children and Nature Network’s resource page: http://www.childrenandnature.org/resources/center/books/allsections/
- For activities – check out http://www.naturerocks.org/ - I LOVE this site – you enter in the age of your child, how much time you have and it generates a list of activities – brilliant!
- Here’s a link from Green Hearts that’s entitled 10 tips to fostering nature play in kids (some nice reminders)! http://www.greenheartsinc.org/uploads/Nurturing_Nature_Play_--_Ten_Tips_for_Parents.pdf