Go “nuts” about nature this summer

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About a decade ago no summer holidays would be complete without the customary tree climbing sessions with friends, boisterous games of cricket or hide and seek in the yard or cycling through lanes and gullis...

One the greatest disadvantages faced by urban kids of today are their lack of opportunities to connect with nature. Most of us parents have sadly resigned to this fact using facts like lack of space or lack of time to soothe our guilty conscience. This summer let us introduce our kids to the magical world of nature and gift them the ability to appreciate and find joy in life’s simple pleasures. Introduce them to the concept of starting a nature journal. Some ideas to get you started ...

·        If you are visiting a park or garden, ask them to sit for a few minutes with their eyes closed and experience nature with senses other than their eyes. The birds chirping, the fragrance of flowers, the caress of the gentle breeze on their face.. After they open their eyes, they can write down their feelings in the note book or they can  even draw what they felt.

·        Encourage them to collect different types of leaves and flowers and make drawings in their journal, find out their names from the internet or library reference books. They can go in detail and write about the unique features of each flower or leaf like the texture , thickness of stem , color etc

·        They can extend this concept to any other subject and make it a fun group activity with like minded friends.  If you stay in an apartment complex you can round up a few of their friends and parents and go star gazing. Arm yourself with a book or downloaded material on various star formations and encourage them to find out the patterns. Orion, the hunter, big dipper etc. Arrange for a telescope and some snacks to spice up things

·        Let them try their hand at some gardening..all you need is a pot with some soil. Let then sow coriander seeds and watch and record the growth. A fun exercise is to get a long trough and sow the seeds in the shape of alphabets to form their name. It will be fun to watch the seeds sprout and form their name.

So let this summer gift your children the opportunity to go nuts about nature.You can get them started off with a blank record book, pencils and colors. You don’t have to go some exotic locale, your back yard or apartment garden or even the neighborhood park will do just fine.  This will help them become more attuned to the natural world around them; whether it’s a new nest which has come up on your tree in the backyard or new bud that has bloomed in the garden.