If we knew how many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits there are to being outside and being in direct contact with nature, we’d spend the whole day outside with our children! The Earth is the vast house that accommodates everyone, which we have to care for because, realistically, it’s the only planet we have and it is the future of our children, grandchildren and, thereafter, of all humanity.
For all of these reasons, it’s important to teach children, pretty much from birth, to love, enjoy, appreciate and care for nature and the planet.
Make children spend most of their time playing outside: There is alarming data which indicates that, on average, children today spend half the time that prisoners spend outside! (Just one hour a day compared to the two hours that prison inmates spend outside). Technology consumes all of their free time and they are missing out on many wonderful things like playing in parks, seeing flowers, squirrels, ducks and getting dirty! We can always bathe them and wash their clothes afterwards, but these activities in nature will make children happy, free, active and healthy.
Encourage their curiosity by bringing them to natural science museums and by watching documentaries on channels like National Geographic: You can take them on weekend family outings to botanical gardens, natural museums, zoos and short trips to the beach or the mountains. Try to explain the mechanisms of life and of biology to them, and if you don’t know this yourself, find out the information to pass it on to them. A good way to do this is by watching documentaries on nature and animal life channels, which you can enjoy together.
Teach them to recycle and to care for the environment: The planet is facing serious pollution challenges and if you teach children to recycle and reuse materials, you will be making them part of the solution. Explain to them what “carbon footprint” means (the impact that each one of us has on the pollution of the planet) and how we can minimize it (put each material where it should go in the garbage, don’t throw rubbish in the street, choose notebooks made from recycled paper, etc.). The important thing is to create awareness in our children that we must respect, care for and value the Earth as if it were our own home.