One fun way to help kids become more aware of the nature around them is to ask them to look at it from a different perspective. Quite literally.
Ask your child to lay on his belly and pretend that he is an ant. What do things look like from down there? How are things different? Where are you headed? Are there any obstacles? Now ask him to be a squirrel. How would a tree look as he climbs up? How does the bark feel on his paws? Are there lots of leaves to hide amongst? Does it provide any food? How close is the next tree?
What if he were a mouse looking for a hiding spot? Where could he go? What’s it like inside? Can any predators get in? Is it warm or cool in there? What does it smell like? What if he were a fly landing on a leaf? How big does that leaf seem? What’s the texture like? Does the other side look and feel the same? Are there any other critters on the leaf?
You get the idea. Pretending to be someone or something else helps spark children’s imagination. Positioning their bodies differently engages their senses and helps acquire a different perspective. Looking at nature with a fresh perspective helps children (and adults) to notice more details. Noticing more details helps children gain a better understanding of nature and feel more connected to it.
So when you and your child are out this weekend, stop to lay in the grass or sit at the base of a tree and take a few moments to look at nature with a different perspective.
If you or your child would like to record his/her observations, click here for a printable. There is space to draw a picture of each perspective or write a description. Photos would also be a wonderful visual reminder of the experience. If your child keeps a nature journal, this would be a lovely addition.
Have a happy, nature-filled weekend!