Faking it: Teaching Children about Nature when you don’t know much about it

In an ideal world, we would all go on nature walks with our children and point out the various species of flora and fauna, educate them on the weather habits that affect different types of animals and plants, and consistently have awe inspiring nature stories to share with young ones, am I right!? But unfortunately, not many adults know specifics about nature anymore. And that is no one’s fault. But if we recognize the importance of nature education, then we should do our best to instill as much knowledge as we can into our children so they can have a more fulfilled relationship with nature and grow up to be more knowledgeable about the natural world than we, current adults, are.

So if you, an adult, do not know much about nature, can you really help your child develop a passion for the natural world and increase their knowledge about it? ABSOLUTELY! Don’t be afraid of not having the answer to all of your children’s questions. (When prompted with a question you don’t know the answer to, you can always turn it back on your child and ask them what they think the answer is and why!) The most important take-away from this blog post is this: taking your children outdoors, partnering with them during explorations of the natural world, and fostering their interest in nature is extremely important and worthwhile even if you are not educating them on the biological intricacies of the natural world. As the old adage goes, you may not remember WHAT a person says but you will remember how that person made you FEEL. Same goes with nature explorations – as long as you are supporting your children’s adventures in the natural world, you are building the emotional connection that build the foundation for knowledge and wisdom about the environment. For more information about instilling a sense of curiosity about the natural world in your children, I recommend reading The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson, marine biologist and conservationist. In this book Carson elaborates on the excitement that accompanies children finding joy and mystery in the natural world. I believe that positive child-adult relationships are extremely important in encouraging unity with other humans and with nature.

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