The great outdoors- learning through nature

When lockdown first came into place, it accompanied a sense of trepidation with an underbelly of anxiety. We stayed indoors and adapted to the ‘new normal,’ wearing masks and avoiding contact with others. As adults, we balanced our work and homes as best we could, but what of the children? On the surface, my kids seemed just fine until I began to see subtle changes in them that prompted me to reflect on how COVID 19 has affected them indirectly.
We played every game, assembled every puzzle, and constructed every Lego building possible in the first few months of lockdown. Amazon yielded fresh ideas on what we could buy to entertain the children. Once those options were exhausted, we resorted to Ipads to help the children pass the time. I’m sure every parent can attest to having faced the dilemma of allowing their children extended screen time, and we told ourselves that the pandemic had forced our hand in this regard.

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When the second wave began to hit with even more severity than before, we realized that we were in this for the long haul. Life would not go back to magically being the way it was; nothing would probably ever be the same. We needed to rethink our lives, keeping in mind that we needed to be safe while implementing a better lifestyle.
My husband and I began researching green areas where we could take our children within the city. We realized that even though we just went into lockdown a year ago, city life had not allowed us to expose our little ones to nature. We began by taking small treks into the Aravalli Biodiversity Park. Masks on, we trudged through the endless paths while observing the nature around us. The variety of flora and fauna was stunning and captured the boys’ interest as we kept stopping to discover flowers, bees, and butterflies.

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They set about asking questions about the varieties of trees and scrutinized why they looked different from those in their neighborhood parks. We had an engaging conversation on the history of the Aravalli’s and how human activities are impacting the forest area. We also talked in simple terms about trees reversing the effects of pollution and how planting more can help the environment. My elder son, Bryce, developed a passion to ‘stop’ pollution and used his cap for collecting seeds from the wayside. He has been planting several of those seeds every few days to ‘save the planet.’ Every trip to the Biodiversity park has spurred on conversations that helped our children to understand the world around them and intensified their thinking and problem-solving skills. Counting dried leaves, using phonics to chant the names of flowers, spotting shapes in the clouds were ways to elicit laughter and initiate the children’s imagination. I have written a blog post on how play is vitally important in a child’s life (https://reviewmirror.in/2021/02/14/the-importance-of-play/) , and the great outdoors provides ample opportunities for play and recreation. Being able to bring the dogs along had been a bonus!

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During the pandemic, we also decided to drive up to Dehradun since I was working from home. It gave us abundant opportunities to interact with nature, breathe in clean air, explore rivers and hills, and so much more. Our children began to have so much to look forward to, despite the ongoing virus scare. We found ways to be happy and occupied with so little. The sound of rocks plopping into the river bed gave my younger son so much joy, and it was the highlight of the vacation for him rather than going to the mall.

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When I reflect on the essence of learning, experiences form the intricate pieces of the puzzle called life. When children spend time outdoors, they learn to question, be adventurous, challenge themselves, or even simply seize the moment to enjoy the glory of nature. The ability to take a breath and be still is a virtue we should seek to instill in our young ones, the next generation would be better for it. I look forward to many new adventures in the coming days, the greener the better!

If you would like to read my blog post on the importance of play, please visit the link below-
https://reviewmirror.in/2021/02/14/the-importance-of-play/

Do leave a comment if you have more ideas and thoughts on how nature can benefit young ones. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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4 comments

  1. This is a nice piece curating observations of getting close to nature during the pandemic. It is also a testimony to the fact that there is a silver lining at the end of the tunnel. I am sure your kids will discover something ‘new’ in every visit to this park.

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    1. Thank you. It’s been a struggle as a parent, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that journey! It’s been a great outlet for us all to get back to nature. Glad you enjoyed the post 😊

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  2. Indeed, Nature is the best teacher !! Well said and so meaningful. Wish there could be play dates organized to get children interact with each other and develop social skills.

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