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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Exploring Nature to Boost Curiosity and Enthusiasm in Children - Simple Tips and Practical Suggestions

By Andrew Loh

You can be your children's own nature-teacher! Yes, it is possible! It does not cost you anything nor does it need you to spend lot of energy and time. What you need is just a few hours of time in weekend and a natural setting. Follow these simple tips and suggestions to help your children explore nature to boost curiosity and enthusiasm.

Turn available opportunities into nature expedition

Nature exploration is a nice way to help your children how it works and in what manner it influences humans. Turn every available opportunity into nature exploration. If you have a garden, take children for a small walk inside the garden. Show them different plants and shrubs. Show them brightly colored flowers and green leaves and explain how a plant grows from a sapling stage to plant, bud, flower and seeds. These simple approaches will catalyze children's power to imagine and think.

In addition, it will also boost the power of curiosity and enthusiasm. If it is raining outside, take children for walk in the public park. Show them how rain drops can rejuvenate plants and trees and explain why they need water to survive. Also, show animals and birds that live inside the park. Also, show them how they react to water drops falling on them. If it is raining, ask your children to look at the clouds and their formation. Explain them how clouds form and what makes rain happen. In other words, nature offers you several opportunities and you need to use them.

Nature walk and trekking is always useful

Nature is a natural teacher! It can automatically boost children to learn more. You just need to be their facilitator in the process of learning. Find time at least in a month to go for a trek among the nature. Nature walk is good for health and mind. As you walk among the nature, children will become naturally curious and start asking questions. As far as possible, answer their questions and provide most convincing answers. If not, tell them that you will give answers after reaching home. This time interlude will give children a precious time to develop critical thinking and analytical power. Children might find their own answers after some deep thinking.

Go to minute details

To develop critical thinking power, children should examine and inspect everything in minute detail. For example, every object is made of tiny components. A flower has many parts while a plant has many components too. Likewise, a seed would have its own internals while a flying bird can display its wonderful wings and deeply colorized side and nape. Explain why natural objects have their own body parts and in what manner they help them survive the harsh conditions of nature.

Example: Take a rose and peel its petals and come to the deepest possible internals and show them the stalk. Ask them to repeat the entire process with their own fingers. Now, ask them questions about the components of a flower. Children try to answer your questions and but usually fail to answer all questions asked by you. Now, answer those questions that your children could not; as you answer, explain the entire process of pollination, formation of buds, petals and full flowers and later its transformation into seeds. Children love to see objects transform into different shapes, color and size.

A zoo walk can be a big confidence booster

Children simply love zoos where different animals and birds live in their own ecological conditions. All children are expected to get benefits by watching animals and birds. Animals and birds have their own living style and format that are quite different from ours. This by itself could be a great teaching lesson for your children.

Example: Children can easily see a deep emotional bond between an animal and its siblings. Children would definitely learn emotional values by watching a chimp feeding her baby. A mother bird feeding her babies with insects will help children develop thinking skills and emotional intelligence. Two animals fighting with each other will cajole children to think what is that it is making them to fight with each other.

Sea shore and its beach are the places where maximum learning occur

Sea shore and its beaches are perhaps the most significant places in our lives. Crystal clear skies, deep blue waters, gentle waves crashing on to the beach, coconut fronds swaying to the tune of wind, small animals living in the sand and birds chirping away across the seas are the best form of nature teachers for your children.

Examples: Ask your children to play in water salt water just near the shore and not inside deep waters. Ask them to wash their bodies with sea water. Let them build sand castle and allow them to become architects and civil engineers for a day. Help them if necessary. Show them tiny plants, animals, insects and other organisms that live inside the sand. Ask them to calculate the number of waves that crash on to the shore. All thee accumulated experiences act as powerful learning tools to boost a series of skills.

Additional tips

Nature exploration is exciting and thrilling. It can be quite exhaustive too. However, adults like parents may need to be careful while initiating their children to nature expectation to boost curiosity. Fear is dangerous to children and it can kill their curiosity too. Allow children to escape their comfort zone and come out to nature. Do not use negative keywords like “do not climb”, “do not run”, “do not touch” and “do not get dirty”. Dirt is good for children. Spoiling oneself in nature is very good and advantageous! Make your children get immersed in the magic of nature and help them raise their curiosity.

Featured Resource

Imagine Childhood: Exploring the World through Nature, Imagination, and Play - 25 Projects that spark curiosity and adventure
By Sarah Olmsted

For children, potential is limitless, curiosity is an electrical current, and every moment is open to the possibility of the unexpected. Day-to-day life is filled with adventure. Road blocks are invitations to try new routes. And the world is vast and expansive. This book is a celebration of childhood through the crafts and activities that invite wonder and play. The twenty-five projects and activities in this book are meant to speak to the way children engage with the world.

They're about the process of getting there. They're about the conversations that happen while making things together. They're about getting to know the world inch by inch. They're about exploring imaginary universes and running through real forests. They're about living in childhood...regardless of your actual age. They're about being a kid.


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