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How to Raise a Nature Lover: Helping Your Child Think Green

When you encourage your little one to appreciate nature, you are not only raising a child who has respect for Mother Earth, you are also creating opportunities for enhanced health and intellect. Outdoor activities help children get some exercise and they also stimulate cognitive development. A few minutes of fresh air and sunlight is a proven stress reducer in children, too. In fact, a research conducted by the University of Illinois found that a twenty minute walk can calm children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

No matter what season, it’s never a bad idea to switch off the TV and usher your kids outdoors. Below are fun ideas to help you raise a child who loves nature:

Play in the rain.

Forget about catching a cold for a minute, and let your child pitter patter in the rain. In reality, the real cause of colds and flu is dry air, because viruses travel better in it. Children love water, it’s an instinct. If it’s wet outside and there isn’t any sign of thunders and lightning, get your young ones into some rubber boots for some splashing fun.

Take the opportunity to enhance your child’s senses. Talk about how the world seems so different when it rains. Birds don’t seem to chirp, and clouds look like gray cotton. Help your child squish his or her toes into mud or run fingers through wet tree barks. Up their curiosity by asking questions like, “Where do you think the water from the rain comes from?” or “Why do puddles disappear when the sun comes out?”

When your child is done playing in the rain, have some warm and dry clothes and towel ready, but be sure he or she takes a quick shower first.

Get creative in the yard.

There’s nothing better for a young child than getting his or her hands deep in soil. Touching dirt shouldn’t scare you, so let your child play as much as he or she wants in the yard. Children can get creative in this area, plus it’s safe because it’s right where you can watch them while getting some work done.

The yard is a wonderful place for young scientists – they can observe how plants grow, and how insects move about. Give your child a magnifying glass so he or she can see everything up close in bigger size.

Plant something.

Raise a child with passion for planting. A child with a green thumb will also grow to be ecology-minded. You can start with herbs, or better yet, if you already have a place to grow vegetables, do so. A young child can help dig and older children can label plant pots and markers. There’s nothing like harvesting tomatoes and lettuce right from your garden and into your family’s dinner table. Your child will be so proud. Gardening is a wonderful way to bond with children. Moreover, it teaches children about patience, time and caring for living things.

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