Sunday, June 30, 2013

NATURE TIP #1: Engage the Senses

Whenever possible, head outside and explore the multisensory world of nature in all its glory. Too often these days, we are overly dependent on our eyes and, as a result, closed to luscious scents, birdsong, or the feeling of dirt between our toes. An emotional connection with nature is built on a foundation of firsthand experience that taps into the full sensory range. For kids, consider setting up a short outdoor rope course and invite them to navigate it barefoot and blindfolded, perhaps identifying landmarks along the way. Or ask them to close their eyes and name every sound they can hear at different points along a forest stroll. Nighttime walks, preferably in a natural place like a park, forest, or beach, are another magnificent way to engage neglected senses. For a bounty of other sensory-expanding ideas, check out books like Joseph Cornell’s “Sharing Nature With Children” (Dawn, 1998), or Jennifer Ward’s “I Love Dirt! (Trumpeter, 2008).