When people hear that we incorporate nature into our daily life they sometimes think that we go on a long hike or nature walk every day of the week.
While that may have happened when the kids were very young, because I had a certain little one who had.to.be.outside, when more demands were put on our schedule that time was reduced considerably. We had to find more creative but simply ways to incorporate nature into our daily lives because I knew the great benefits we all gained from even short daily connections. In the process it became a part of our family culture to be outside whenever we could and simply notice the nature around us, even when we were not on a dedicated nature walk.
I wanted to share three very simple ways we do this in our family with hopes that you will be able to incorporate these things into your days and bring more nature awareness to your family.
1.Don’t kill time, fill time… with nature.
At some point throughout our day we will have to wait, for something. Fill that time instead of kill it. Fill it with nature!
Most of the times we find ourselves waiting, there is nature to be found somewhere nearby.
– a narrow bit of sky between buildings
– tree branches popping over the rooftop of a building (signs of a rooftop garden)
– birds overhead
Take the time to…
– stop at a park with big trees
– sit under a tree in a grassy areas outside of a building
– watch the birds come and go
Talk about what you see.
The “pond” in the photo below was really just a ditch between the road and the railroad tracks but we took a moment to stop every time we walked by on our way home. So many discoveries were made in that little ditch of a pond.
2. Stop and Look
While in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the day just stop and look! It does not take long to spot a little bit of nature, or draw attention to something easily missed when hurrying along.
– Walking down the sidewalk? Check out what is growing in the cracks.
– Driving home from sports practice? Stop on the side of the road for a short break to take in a scene.
– Walking into a building? Take a moment to look up before you go inside.
Find little moments to be mindful of your surroundings and the nature all around.
We were on our way home from the dentist and decided to stop at the boat ramp for a moment. While we were there we saw a mink in the rocks. It was very exciting! Can you see it there in the rocks to the left?
3. Find a window
Windows provide an interesting view of the world. By looking out a window one can focus on the visual information coming through while closing off the other senses (to a degree). More importantly, one does not have to actually be outside to gain the benefits of what the outdoors has to offer. And let’s face it, there are times when you just can’t be outside, for whatever reason.
While not all windows offer spectacular views, through most windows there is at least a tidbit of nature to be found.
– a birds eye view of trees
– the underside of a fly
– raindrops trickling down
Next time you and your kids have to be inside, seek out a window to frame the world outside and see what you can see.
Considering our busy lives, it can be good to give these things some forethought. Thinking about your typical day, or week, when do you have opportunities to connect with nature in simple ways?
I have made a PDF with these ideas, along with a few extra tips and a printable sheet you can fill out to help you discover where you have opportunities throughout your day or week to connect with nature.
You can download the PDF right here.
I hope that you will find these little moments build up over time and become part of your family culture. You don’t need exotic vacations to far off places to connect with the natural world. In fact, small daily interactions are more beneficial over the long run and can be found all around.
Let me know if you have any questions or need help with any nature related hurdles.
I am happy to help.
P.S. The Everyday Nature for Families online workshop is now open for registration. If you register before September 24th you can invite a friend to join you for free! Yay! Learn more and sign up here.