Hi Nature Lovers,
Each nature walk I have hosted over the past two years with Naturally Curious Nature Walks has always guided me back to the same conclusion: PLAY WILL ALWAYS PREVAIL. When I first began this program, I often offered guided nature walks with a specific theme that I advertised with a cute title or pun. If we were guided by the question, "What will we find under a rotting log?" and the children wanted to climb trees and smell the flowers that day, I would often feel a sense of disappointment or failure when a parent asked what they learned about decomposers at pick-up and the child looked at them perplexed.
An overwhelming need to apologize to the parents for simply following their children's curiosity and whimsy would come over me, even though I knew that play is essential to physical, social-emotional, and intellectual growth. Well, those days of herding children into participating in my pre-planned nature explorations are OVER! PLAY is the name of the game these days and I am having more fun than ever WITH the children.
CONNECT & EXPLORE
The next time your family is in the park or other natural space, appoint your child the official Curiosity Ambassador of that exploration. When they stop to play, observe, chat with an ant, or dig, you should join in that moment with them. No need to suggest moving on. Your child will let you know they want to change their focus. No need to offer unsolicited information about something you observe. Your child will let you know when they want information by asking a question. Above all, show your child that their curiosity is valued.