How to raise a nature loving child
At a time when modern technology has changed the nature of our daily lives, it certainly benefits your child having hands-on contact with the natural world. Here’s how to get your child in touch with the natural world.
The benefits of a childhood outdoors
According to a study of over 1000 American high school children, poor eating habits and a lack of outdoor activity seem to have greatly contributed to the doubling of the childhood obesity rate in the last two decades. Being outdoors helps children release stress, boost imagination and decrease aggression and it is possible for your kids to enjoy the benefits even though they are living in an urban environment.
Try out the following eight fun activities to kickstart your children’s interest in nature:
1. Make a nature notebook
Buy an A4 size notebook (recycled paper, of course) and ask your child to record observations of their outdoor time. Stick photographs, leaves, pressed flowers and other interesting objects within the pages.
2. Go birdwatching
Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of birds species to observed in the city. Point out various types of birds to your children the next time you go to the park. For more avid bird-watchers, try joining the various bird-watching activities held at parks in Singapore.
3. Gaze at the stars
The stars are hard to see when obscured by urban pollution and artificial lighting, but children will be fascinated by watching the night sky and astronomy. Buy astronomy books and magazines for them and take them to the Science Centre for stargazing nights.
4. Look at the sky
Don’t mistake watching the weather as a sign of idleness -- in an age of climate change it pays to observe meteorological movements around you. Install wind chimes around the house, watch the clouds with your child and observe a beautiful sunset from a hilltop in Singapore.
5. Get gardening
Buy prepackaged seeds of small vegetables such as bean sprouts or alfalfa and let your child grow them at home in trays. Indoor gardening teaches your child responsibility and patience so exercise those green fingers today!
6. Get lost in the woods
Go on a nature trail (such as those in Bukit Timah Park) and teach kids to observe plants and flowers up close or look under rocks and fallen trees. For the more adventurous, try the mangrove swamps around Pulau Ubin.
7. Go beside the seaside
There’s nothing like the sound and sight of the sea to wash away the stresses of urban life. If you can’t book an island getaway with your family, then even a day trip to one of Singapore’s beaches will suffice. Engage in fun activities such as building sandcastles and burying dad in the sand.
8. Start a collection
Sometimes you have to bring the outdoors inside for the sake of convenience or in the case of bad weather. Young children love to start collections of natural objects and you can turn this into a hobby. Start rock and seashell collections and display them in craft projects.