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5 Ways for your children to love nature during the fall

Boy playing with fallen autumn leaves

Olga_Kuzmina | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 10/18/23

It might be getting chilly, but there's still lots to gain from getting your kids outside to enjoy God's creation.

With fall firmly in the air you might be finding it harder to get your kids off their screens and out into the great outdoors. However, it’s imperative to give your children an appreciation of God’s creations throughout all the seasons.

By wrapping them up — and yourselves, too — you’ll have the opportunity to teach them about the profound wisdom and perfection that underlies the natural world. And, of course, you can instill in them a sense of reverence and gratitude for the exquisite tapestry of life that surrounds them.

Embrace outdoor exploration

Encourage your children to immerse themselves in nature’s wonders. Take leisurely strolls in parks, forests, and gardens. Let them marvel at the changing colors of leaves, the crispness in the air, and the gentle rustle of fallen foliage. Provide them with simple tools like binoculars, magnifying glasses, or sketchbooks to deepen their connection with the natural world. And most importantly, let them get their hands dirty!

Clean up your garden together

Engage your kids in the process of understanding the process of life by cleaning up your garden. Since the fall is a time when many plants will be dropping leaves or shriveling in preparation for winter, doing fall garden work will provide them with a profound appreciation for the cycles of life. You can speak with them about seasonal changes and explain how each phase reflects the perfection and wisdom of a higher power. This will help them have a sense of awe and gratitude when each new season arrives. As winter gives way to spring, your children will be excited to see plants coming back to life.

Encourage mindful observation

Teach your children the art of contemplation. Invite them to sit quietly in nature, observing without interruption. Encourage them to notice the intricacies of a fallen leaf, the rhythm of a babbling brook, or the way the rich autumn sunlight filters through the branches. Help them understand that in the minutiae of nature, they can grasp its beauty, and the hand of a Divine Creator.

Create nature-centric traditions

Foster a sense of belonging to nature by establishing family traditions centered around the outdoors. This could be as simple as yearly pumpkin picking, nature scavenger hunts, or annual hiking or camping trips. Encourage your children to actively participate in planning and organizing these events, providing them with a sense of responsibility towards the environment, and also a sense of excitement as each tradition arrives.

Nurture a sense of wonder

Give your kids the opportunity to ask questions and seek answers about the natural world. “Why do leaves change color?”“Where have all the birds gone?” “Why is it getting colder?” These are just a few of the questions that are bound to come up. Encourage them to investigate by exploring different books, documentaries, and field guides. Take the time to explore and discover together — who knows what you’ll learn with them?

This process will not only further their love for nature but also foster a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all life forms, reinforcing the idea of a harmoniously designed world.

ChildrenFamilyNaturePope John Paul II
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