Monday, July 1, 2013

NATURE TIP #2: Venture into the Bubble

An essential ingredient of nature connection is learning to see animals, plants, and other life forms as subjects rather than objects. Young kids do this instinctively. Yet, unfortunately, most of us “grow out of it” during our middle childhood years. One of the best ways I know to maintain and foster this kind of attitude is the “soap bubble technique,” invented by German biologist Jakob von Uexküll. Head outside and picture every creature surrounded by a soap bubble that represents its own individual sensory world. Now imagine being able to step inside the bubble of your choice—say, of a robin, earthworm, or butterfly. No matter what your selection, your world becomes transformed. Because all creatures have highly specialized senses, the experience of colors, smells, tastes, and sounds is very different in your chosen bubble world, as are your motivations. Encourage kids to find their favorite animal, enter the imaginary bubble, and experience this alternate world. To spur thoughts in the right direction, you might ask, “Why do you think that creature is acting that way?” Of course, the soap bubble technique is aided by some knowledge of the sensory world of the creature in question, but such understanding isn’t necessary. It’s the imagination that counts most. Best of all, by adding on new layers of knowledge, this approach can be used effectively with preschoolers all the way up to “university graduate schoolers,” offering an amazing outdoor educational tool. 


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