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March Break - a perfect time to get kids to love nature (in 3 easy steps!)

This new Infographic from the Nature Kids Institute is simply awesome, as it makes it easy to get started and more importantly, to maintain exposure to Nature.  This is the brainchild of Kenny Ballentine,  a dad of three, award-winning filmmaker, trainer, public speaker and nature guide. In January 2013 he wrapped production on his latest feature-length documentary film, Nature Kids and founded The Nature Kids Institute whose mission to bring the wonders of the natural world into the lives of children everywhere. So where does one start? You can follow the many great suggestions on their site and also consider our experience: 1. First of all - daily - some time in nature even if it’s 15-30 minutes. Do simple things,like ask kids to find objects that start with each letter of the alphabet or in each color. Get them to really see what is surrounding them. 2. Second, plan a longer outing right now. Not one day, DO IT NOW! Choose a day, do it. If it’s miserable, don’t be surprised - getting going can be a frustrating experience full of forgotten clothing items. “too cold or hot”, “too wet” etc. - even the most prepared parents end up caught into situations you couldn’t have foreseen. Persevering through that is key - as after the second or third outing in a month, the kids start asking for them! Too many families give up too early. Too many families are also not prepared - good shoes, clothes, gloves, water bottles, snacks etc are all #musthave to avoid preventable (and justified) reasons for unhappiness. 3. Find like-minded families to do these outings with. Bonus: find a dog. It’s several degrees of magnitude better to do these outings when another family with kids and/or dog is involved. EVERYTHING is better - from having company to having an extra pair of hands to help. The kids then usually just excitedly chat or run ahead and fun is more achievable. Even better is to find a family who is experienced at this, as having them coach and role model is key. Where to find them? Go to a nature club event or meet up in your city, or even just the local library section on local nature walks. Ask around. Suggest it to friends who may not do it now, but may end up trying it and liking it. Alexandra T. Greenhill, mom of three, CEO founder of myBestHelper

Posted: March 15, 2014