Stepping on soft, fluffy sand and digging their toes in its softness only to, right after, feel the coolness of the ocean as waves lap their feet. Grabbing the dirt in the playground with their hands and “saving it for later” in a bucket. Smelling the flowers, feeling the texture of tree bark, observing ants form a straight line, listening to the birdsong, comparing the different shades of green on leaves and watching as water runs down a river. The list of experiences that nature can provide is immense and filled with interesting things, especially for a child who just started discovering what makes the world such a great place.
Promoting outside walks where your child can come into contact with nature is not only a good way to train the senses – vision, touch, smell, taste and hearing – but also to acquire knowledge, develop intelligence, increase their perception and incentive their curiosity and sense of exploration. Another advantage is strengthening their immune system through the contact with antibodies found in dirt or sand, making the child less susceptible to a series of diseases. Besides, visiting gardens or farms is a golden opportunity for the little ones, especially for those who live in large urban areas, to meet the animals, eat fruit straight from the tree or drink fresh cow’s milk. It’s also an incredible chance to teach them to respect and value nature and all of its species.
Don’t forget, however, to take the time to care for your child’s skin with sunscreen, a product you’re allowed to use after the child is six months old. And, at home, consider planting a small garden, even if it’s just in little pots and show the child how to plant a seed. Asking the child to help you with watering a flower or plant is also a good idea, even more so because they will feel important in performing such a task – which is, in fact, very important!