We take our kids on hikes, to playgrounds, to pumpkin patches and let them play gleefully in piles of newly fallen leaves to get them unplugged and reconnected to the outside world. But, what do they really “see” of Mother Nature and the miracles she performs?
It’s time to dig a little deeper (pun intended) into the earth and look more closely at some treasures we pass by each and every day of our lives.
Here’s a great suggestion for letting your kids see all “the little things” Mother Nature has to offer.
Buy a jeweler’s loupe and a magnifying glass. If your kids are older and have the manual dexterity, the jeweler’s loupe will allow them to see some things at a cellular level. The magnifying glass is great for smaller, less skilled hands, yet still very powerful, allowing younger tots to participate without frustration. Both of these have LED lights, so viewing is terrific. You want something that magnifies at least 10 times for best results (which these do, the jeweler’s loupe features both 10x and 20x).
Now, grab your wee ones, throw some plastic boots on, take a plastic plate or mat, (you’ll see why soon) some snacks, and hit the trail.
Let your kid/s choose the perfect leaf, either from a tree or from the ground or even better, both. Not only will they be able to see the intricate structure of the leaf, they’ll see the veins, ribs and hairs on the underside of their selection. Hold the leaf up to the sun for best results and view other wonders such as tiny eggs laid by insects.
Inspect the bark on different trees; you’ll all be amazed at what’s revealed. Acorns, pine cones, and tree litter at the base of trees is home to all sorts of tiny critters, most of which are too small to see with the naked eye.
You may be lucky enough to stumble across a fallen cicada or other larger insects to enlarge. Wings are especially fascinating as are the sections of the bug: hairy little legs, pincers, and antennae – all sorts of wondrous (and sometimes gross) things to see.
Have fun with it – anything your kids view will be truly eye-opening (OMG, another lame pun?) and will connect your children to a much deeper level of nature.
Watch what happens, they’ll be magnifying their fingers, their clothes, anything and everything!
(CAUTION: Do not leave your husband alone with the hand magnifier. You know why.)
Ready to get down and dirty? (I’m alerting the pun police) Let them lay down on the forest floor, grass, lawn – wherever you are, and direct their attention to the soil. Earthworm tracks and probably the worms themselves will be revealed, and blades of grass are suddenly transformed into a micro-jungle.
Take a piece of the apple, chip, cracker, or whatever snack you have and place it there in the dirt. Wait a few minutes and see what comes crawling along to feed.
Another wonderful place to search is in a shallow creek. Lay down your plastic sheet/ plate/ thingy and scoop some of the watery mud up and place it on the plastic. Spread it out a little and see what’s really in that water!! This is where worms, snails, and other small invertebrates are found along with tadpoles (when it’s warm), small fish, and water bugs.
Some things, of course, will be difficult to really get a good look at if they’re wriggling but you can get a glimpse with the hand magnifier before returning them to the water; it’s well worth the effort.
Flowers are magnificent as they are quite intricate. When opened and pulled apart, it’s a world in and of itself – and when magnified, truly marvelous.
There really isn’t anything in Mother Nature that isn’t worth a closer, in-depth look. It’s a wondrous world your children may not even know exists, depending on their age and/or grade level.
Hopefully, your kids’ interest in science will be magnified (really, another?), and they will continue their magnification activities on their own (probably ad nauseum; you may rue the day you read this post).
We need to instill a true appreciation and respect for nature in our children at an early age. They will be the future caretakers of the environment, and Mother Nature can use all the help she can get.
So, disconnect your children from Wi-Fi and establish a strong connection to the vibrant energy the Earth provides.
What are you waiting for, you know Mother does NOT like to be kept waiting!
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Introduce Your Kids to Their Other Mother was written by Mary McLaurine exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.
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