Sharing nature with children is a wonderful way to get them excited about the wonders of wildlife, but is also one of the biggest blessings you can have in your own life.
My friend Karyl at Native Plant Wildlife Gardening describes it this way:
Today I watched a neighbor’s kids. We made toad houses and planted sunflowers and it was a treat for me. My garden does not look like much – it is too young yet but to see a habitat garden through the eyes of a child makes it amazing. There is a lot of life going on in my backyard, I’m just too used to it. Everything was WOOOOOOWWWW! to them. You know what, it is pretty WOW.
Yesterday I had a very important date–with my 4 year old neighbor Libby and her 2 year old sister Penny (and their mom, too).
They knew that I had seen the Eagles who for the first time ever, are nesting at John Heinz NWR, which is located in the shadow of the Philadelphia Airport. Their Pappy had also seen these Eagles, and they wanted very much to see them, too.
I packed up a pair of Bushnell 8 x 25 binoculars (perfect size for Libby’s little hands), an 8 x 25 monocular for Penny, and my spare binoculars for Mom and off we went on our grand adventure.
I was hoping that some Great Blue Herons would be wading near the bridge because large birds that stand relatively still are excellent for young children. We scoped out the bridge, but…..no Herons.
But Libby and Penny were unconcerned. We heard a big fish splash in the water, and it was so much fun to keep saying “SPLASH!”
We found a life size carving of a Bald Eagle and we spread our arms out to try to reach the tips of its wings, but we couldn’t because Eagles have verrrry biiig wings.
We made wishes on Dandelion seed heads, and got so silly laughing at the seeds flying everywhere.
We went down the “secret passageways” in the woods and amused ourselves by stomping across the little bridge to scare away the trolls.
It made us very happy to see the Mommy and Daddy Tree Swallows sitting together on top of their houses.
We giggled every time the Canada Geese said “honkhonkhonkhonkhonk” and we practiced saying that, too.
And we got to run, REALLY fast along the pathways.
We never did see the Eagle, but we sure did have fun!
How do you share nature with the kids in your life?
Learn more about John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge: