What better way to get your curious child in touch with Nature than with a scavenger hunt.
A Child's Curiosity
Children are curious about EVERYTHING! (Every parent reading this is nodding with a big smile right now). Now the potential for this curiosity can be measured in what he or she is about to get into. My four and a half month old as I type is looking around and trying to touch everything within reach, which will in turn end up in his mouth( the sign of early curiosity onset). As it is I have to type on an iPad as I walk around with him in my Baby Bjorn to keep him entertained enough for me to work, so that later I can take him outside and really get his curiosity going.
It amazes me how captivated a child can get with the simplest of things, like the pattern on your pj's or a wrinkle in a napkin. Their attention is so strong and easily captured that I worry at some of the things that catch his eye, though I know I never have to worry about them Not noticing something.
How many of you have walked around the room and feel your child's head is on a swivel, much like an owl? Then have any of you walked by a mirror and opened up a whole new world?
Example of a Scavenger Hunt
I remember when I was real little my mother and father would take us on nature scavenger hunts. We would head out with a bag and collect little things (inanimate of course) on our walk to come home and find out what it was we had. We would also try to spot as many animals as we could or how many different types of something there was. This seemed to do the trick on keeping our attention span on nature during the adventure and allowed us to open up to the world of questions and answers. I still go on walks and lift up a rock or roll over a log to see what is under it.
Our vacations were spent going camping in Maine or Canada. The scavenger hunt kept us busy in the car ride as well, making it a kind of contest. Who can spot the most deer, or Moose? How many different animals are on the way to our destination? Every rest stop had to have a trail for us to walk so we could discover what was there. One would think, this sounds a little too educational for children but surprisingly children like education, even a teenager does except that their hormones and desire to fit with a crowd of many diverse thinkers makes them believe that they do not (Thank TV and current culture standards for that).
Nudging a Child's Curiosity Towards Nature
It seems to me that, as I look out my window at the wind blowing through the soft pine, filled with little chirping juncos, and the chipmunks chasing each other across the muddy driveway avoiding puddles that the bluejays are currently splashing, that Nature is simply amazing! I think back to my earliest childhood memories trying to figure out when or how I was introduced to the concept of nature and the beautiful landscapes that cascade around us everywhere tempting and tantalizing my curiosity much like I did as a child. My childhood was full of hikes and tree climbing and mud playing so I know being surrounded by and being immersed in nature definitely helped draw my attention to the wonders of it. Still I wondered what first helped grab my attention since as a child your attention span does not really stay on one focal point for too long? I started thinking about it more now that I have a child of my own. I know as a child I was constantly full of questions and somehow it was aimed in the direction of Nature and its many quandaries. Now I find myself reminiscing to find the answer.
I also grew up going to camp. I believe it helps in a child's development to have a camp. Up here in Maine a camp is a little house or lodge in the woods, preferably by water that you go to during the weekends. I grew up going to two different camps as both my grandparents had one. I also married into one and go to that one every chance I get. There is much to do at a camp. There is even electricity but we were encouraged to go outside and play, telling us that there was just news on. We of course had no problem being out by the water or on one of the many walks peeking under rocks, rolling logs, investigating holes and researching tree tops. There is no shortage to critters or anything else for that matter to help keep one preoccupied. My brother and I as children would search under rocks in the water to see who could find the most crayfish or frogs and even though scavenger hunt was not mentioned our brains were programed for it. I strongly recommend if you know someone who has one asking them if you can visit. (You might want one of your own.)
There are many things in this world to catch our attentions. Many things to trigger questions and the desire to learn more, but you have to decide what would be more desirable for your child. what is better; having them draw their attention span from the television show that is on everyday, or having them outside building a foundation to other things that stem off of nature, like society, animals, economy?