In Canada I’ve come to expect outdoor season to be brief. So as soon as the weather warms up, I am on the look-out for creative ways to push my kids outdoors and enjoy nature. All around me, people bring out the deck chairs, fire up the BBQ and spruce up their gardens. I love being in nature, and soaking up much-needed Vit D. This is also an amazing way to combat nature deficit disorder. Yes, Vit N(ature) deficiency is a real thing. I see it in my own house, especially as my kids are getting older. Technology is interfering with our free time and I’m glad when my kids go outside, get their hands dirty and show their love for nature.
5 magical ways for kids to love nature
Get the kids outside.
Mundane household chores taken outdoors somehow seem more joyful. We’ve tried folding laundry, doing our homework, even building Lego, and they all work! I’ve discovered that I don’t always need a plan to enjoy outdoors. A few years ago, when my oldest was 3, I spent time in a parking lot waiting for an older relative. I wasn’t prepared. Thankfully my little one and I found a grassy spot and that was enough entertainment for us for hours.
Don’t box them in.
Whether it’s getting their hands dirty in a sand box, exploring the corners of the backyard, or the neighbourhood park – unstructured time outdoors is a blessing that must be enjoyed. And kids revel in the feeling of no deadlines or set rules.
Let the kids lead.
As the weather warms up we spend weekends in our favourite hiking spots at Toronto Botanical Garden or Sunnybrook Park in Northern Toronto. The walks are great but the best part is that the kids lead the charge and map the route.
Connect the dots between learning and nature.
My kids have spent a lot of time this school year studying the impact of pesticides and chemicals on bees in North America, particularly Canada. The school also arranged a field trip to Greater Toronto Area’s very own Downsview Park to study the life cycle of butterflies and understand them further. As we started to plan our own backyard this season the kids knew how they wanted to help. President’s Choice #PCGarden centres have a great variety of pollinator-friendly plants. We brought home a few this summer to further enrich our garden. My favourite is lavender, a perennial favourite with bees and butterflies. These species need all the help with the tough times they are facing. I’m glad the children are doing all they can.
Let there be magic.
This was my older daughter’s plan. She has always dreamed of a fairy garden. We started to build one last year that veered off a tangent and ended up being a miniature garden for Lego Friends. So this year she was determined to welcome fairies and gnomes. And on our last visit to Presidents Choice #PCGarden centres, she was able to buy plants in the “fairy garden” shape – plants that mimic the look of large trees.
It’s early days of summer and plants are still finding their roots but I see the magic people are already quite happy in their fairyland, as are my kids. For me – I’m just glad to be able to enjoy my favourite place with my family this summer – outdoors!
I originally wrote this post in collaboration with President’s Choice #PCGarden summer campaign. I’m glad to share my family’s love of gardening with you through this story.