The whole year round, I give my daughter various lessons on how to save electricity, conserve water, and respect the nature. However, this World Environment Day, it occurred to me that some outdoor learning would be meaningful too. Instead of preaching to kids, we could show them the various delights Mother Nature offers, so that the environment itself inspires them to care for itself.
Here are a few places that could help your child get up, close and personal with nature:
Take a nature walk
Mumbai doesn’t boast of many green lungs, however, taking a stroll in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali and Aarey Colony, Goregoan, your kids will get to appreciate the greenery and tranquillity of these places. Apart from the various trees and plants, kids can even spot (if lucky) animals like leopards, striped hyena, antelopes, deer, monkeys, etc. You can even take the kids to Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Park in Thane where they can rejoice in a riot of colours as different species of butterflies fly past them. One more place to visit is Purushwadi, where millions of fireflies come together to provide a spectacular show. If they haven’t already fall in love with nature, they would surely do now.
Take a day trip to an eco-village
Treat your kids to a day in a rustic setting. Take a day trip to a village and get to live the simple village life. Drink water from a well and eat food made from the freshest vegetables, millets and cereals. Your kids will breathe in the unadulterated air, enjoy the outdoor games that village children play, and learn to appreciate the simple joys of life.
Visit a photo exhibition of nature/wildlife
One of the best things is to visit a wildlife sanctuary where kids can live amidst the nature and learn about wildlife. However, if that’s not feasible, visiting a wildlife photo exhibition can be quite useful too. Nehru Science Center and many national galleries organize photo exhibitions that cover wildlife and nature. Visit one such exhibition so that your kids can learn the various aspects of wildlife; you never know, it might enthuse your kids to take up the cause of protecting nature and wildlife.
Visit a farmers' market/nature bazaar
Most kids think food comes out of packets and is grown in supermarkets. Well, there’s no one to blame for it than parents. Take your child to a farmer’s market or a nature bazaar where they can interact with real farmers, learn how they grow food and understand their hardships. They will also learn to appreciate their food more. Do not forget to buy some fresh produce for a healthy meal.
Spend a night in the lap of nature
Taking your children for a trekking, hiking or camping trip is a good idea to spend some quality time with the nature. Trekking through hills and hiking through forests make children come closer to the nature, so does sleeping under the open sky. As children bathe in a nearby lake or a stream, collect wood to keep themselves warm and walk their way to reach different landmarks, they will not only learn to admire the nature and conserve it, but will also appreciate the many things in life that they take for granted like running water, electricity, private transport, etc.
Be with nature, feel fresh and let your kids feel the joy!
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