Helping children appreciate nature

Money & Careers

By Njeri Wachira

Even though Kenya is a rich tourist destination, it is saddening to note very few of us appreciate this. The culture of loving outdoors and nature was not instilled in us from childhood. It is important to encourage children to get outside for their health and wellbeing.

Here are some simple ways to pique their interest in the outdoors:

Simple fun trips: Find your local zoo, aquarium, local museums, art galleries, botanical gardens and nature centres. Make a point of visiting those within a 60-mile radius of your home before venturing into far-flung places.

Drive to the countryside: Once in a while, drive the children to the countryside where there are a lot of things to see. Encourage them to be actively involved in grazing, milking and picking their own veggie and fruits.

Nature investigators: Have your children find rocks, insects or identify birds in your own backyard or park. Invest in some field guidebook on local plants and animals and encourage them to look for the items in the book from the park or yard.

Spy on birds: The trees in your neighbourhood can bring countless days of bird watching. Get a book on birds from the library and try locating different species birds displayed in the book. Make home binoculars for the children. Bird watching teaches children patience, listening and observational skills.

Plant a garden: Nothing excites children more than getting closer to nature and feeling dirt squish between their fingers. Growing plants and trees together is also an excellent lesson on how nature works. Encourage and teach them to plant and protect trees, to conserve water bodies, wild life and birds for tomorrow.

Leading the excursion: Allow the children to lead during an expedition. Before going for a trip ask the child what he/she is interested in seeing outside and take them there. After the trip, find out what they enjoyed most and why. This keeps them as active participants.

Let them collect insects: Give the children a container to collect non-dangerous insects like ladybugs to observe them close up. Also, give them a paper bag and ask them to collect leaves, acorns, pinecones, twigs or flowers. This allows the child to touch and feel nature and experience the outdoors.

Play games: Sometimes the most fun you can have with nature is by playing games under the clear blue sky. Take the children to places where there is a lot of playroom and equipments for play.

Government to solve dollar shortage as forex reserves decline
Premium Investors now turn a profit in these former crime hotspots
Premium Telkom Kenya owes billions to regulator, Safaricom
Money & Market
Karen Nyamu: Increase minimum wage to Sh22,680
The Standard
Celebrate Easter in style with our KES999 annual offer