Sure, there are plenty of gifts that you can give your kids. One of the best is a love for nature. If you can manage that, then you’ll be giving them a love of something that’ll reward them again and again as they progress through life. After all, there are plenty of beautiful places on earth just waiting to be explored! But if you don’t quite get the magic of nature, the enjoyment of those places may be lost on you…we get it.
So how can you ensure that your kids grow up with love and respect for nature (even if it’s not your cup of organic herbal tea)? Let’s take a look at some tried and tested tips.
Your kids can’t learn to love nature if they’re inside all the time! While the odd NatGeo special will help, it’s not a substitute for the real deal. You can take them on an epic adventure (more on those below) but also look at having a broad “outdoorsy” mentality. Whether it’s having lunch or engaging in an arts and crafts project, there’s really nothing (except for maybe the weather) stopping you from doing it outside. All the while, your kids will be developing an appreciation for the outside world.
There’s nothing that will make a person fall in love with nature faster than an epic adventure. Can you imagine going on a long excursion to see the northern lights in the dead of winter? That’s something that you would positively love! That kind of action might be slightly beyond your children, but there are plenty of epic trips that are more kid-friendly. For example, what about a Gatineau River rafting adventure? That’ll be physical, challenging, and deeply rewarding — and it’ll happen in the great outdoors. Once they return, you’ll likely find that they’ve acquired a deep love for nature.
You don’t even need to travel far to find some epic outdoor fun. Spots like Lake George in New York (one of Jake’s faves for family) are nicely balanced for nature lovers that like to have all the amenities nearby (decent hotels, restaurants, etc). If you’re more outdoorsy than Jake? Try hitting as many US National Parks as you can with a helper like the America the Beautuful pass.
Freedom to Explore
If there’s one thing that’ll have your kids not liking nature as much as they could or should, it’s control. While they have to contend with so many rules and ways to act in most parts of society, in nature, it’s simplified. We’re at risk of sounding like an inspirational break-room posters when we lay out one of the few rules kids have when in nature: “Leave nothing but footprints, and take nothing but memories.” While you’ll always want to ensure that your kids are safe, they should have a lot of freedom to explore and have fun. Love comes from curiosity; if they can learn how to be curious about nature, then they’ll be exploring for the rest of their lives.
Be An Example
Kids don’t just learn what their parents tell them. They learn by watching how they act. If you have a love of nature and have a positive relationship with it, then it’s much more likely that your kids will, too! Here are some idea starters we found for getting your kids involved with your lead…
Finally, be sure to make nature trips a regular thing with your kids. There’ll be plenty of places nearby that you can explore, or you can take a road trip! While they might fall in love after just one trip, it’s more likely that it’ll take a few trips before they realize just how much they love it. Even if your outdoor treks are brief, keep them regular to help the kids discover a love for nature.