Do you remember the first time you became aware of your natural surroundings? Perhaps it was when an adult — perhaps your teacher — encouraged you to take an interest in the natural world or local history. Perhaps it was when a tree caught your eye, or the smell of wild garlic caught your nose. Or maybe it was some other trigger that spurred you on. These things don’t come naturally to everyone. Encouraging children to take an interest in the natural world and local history can be challenging but rewarding for both child and parent alike.
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Start with small things
There’s no need to go overboard and start building a nature trail in your back garden or researching every significant event ever to happen in your town. Instead, start small, and expand your children’s knowledge as they grow more interested. Introduce them to the plants and animals in your area — you’ll be surprised how much children can learn from observing the life around them. Children are often more open to learning when they’re younger, so start introducing topics when they’re young, and they’ll be more likely to take an interest as they get older. If you live near a nature reserve, take your children there regularly and point out interesting things. If you live near a historical site, visit it with your children and discuss its significance.
Expose your children to art and nature
There’s a lot of crossover between art and nature — the natural world and vice versa inspire many artists. Expose your children to both, and see which one appeals to them. You might find that your child is interested in a particular artist, or they might prefer to create their own art. If they are interested in a specific artist, look into their work and discuss what makes it so significant. Expose your children to nature as well. Nature is a crucial part of our world and helps inspire many artists. Take your children out into nature to look at plants and trees, and discuss how they’re connected to our lives. You could also visit a natural history museum or encourage them to go on history school trips.
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Point out interesting facts during your normal day
While you’re out doing your daily activities with your children, take the opportunity to point out interesting facts about your surroundings. This could be as simple as pointing out the type of tree in your backyard or a curious bird or type of insect you come across. You might also want to introduce your children to local history — the significance of the place where you live and how it came to be the way it is today. Many websites can help you do this. For example, you can find out about the history of your home town or the area around your school. You could also take your children to a historical site, such as a castle, a museum, or a significant building in your area.
Go on activities that encourage an interest in nature and history together
Go on activities that encourage an interest in nature and history together, such as outdoor activities or visiting historical sites. Exploring nature and visiting historical sites will help your children become interested in both topics. While you’re out, take the opportunity to point out interesting things in nature and historical sites. Exploring nature and visiting historical sites together will help your children become interested in both topics. You can also get your children toys that encourage these interests, such as toy castles and knights, as well as farm sets.
Help them develop a skill or expertise that might help them feel more connected to the world around them
Help your children develop a skill or expertise that might help them feel more connected to the world around them — for example, learn about the local wildlife in your area (zoology, botany, ornithology, etc.) or the local history. If your children develop a strong interest in the local wildlife or a particular type of plant, they may feel more connected to their surroundings. They might also want to create and participate in related activities, such as entering competitions or visiting exhibitions.
Try games that simulate natural environments
Try games that simulate natural environments, such as games that incorporate plants or that simulate weather and environmental conditions. For example, you could try growing a garden and learning about the plants (or bringing an indoor plant out to share your knowledge with your children). You could also try to simulate a natural phenomenon, such as a thunderstorm or a blizzard. You could also try to simulate aspects of nature in your games. For example, you might want to try a game that simulates the migration of birds.