Thursday, 10 May 2012

Nature buddy

Classes are finally over, I have only 2 exams to correct, and then, this school year will come to en end!  I am SO glad, and most of all so relieved!  It has been a very busy and dare I say exasperating year, and the mere thought of it being almost done makes me giggle like a little child.

Not having to drive to work yesterday, I was able to enjoy the "almost-raining-but-not" day we had.  The wind was coming from the south, making the day rather comfortable.

Not having had much time to really spend time with E, I took advantage of this time we had together to do something he really loves: Nature walk.
E could be outside all day long.  Whether it rains, it snows, no matter the temperature, the first things he asks for is "dehors" (outside in french).  He can say this word 50 times a day.  And truthfully, every time I hear this, it makes my heart sing.

walking head up...

Nature has always been a integral part of my life.  As a child, I could spend hours outside, exploring, walking, and playing in the forest or on vacant lot.  Being an adolescent, I was part of so many activities that were taking place in nature, survival techniques, camping, canoeing, name it...  When I got to university, my personal time was rather restricted, and I had to cut in the amount of time I spend outside.  Looking back now, I see how this was not the best choice.  (live and learn).  Got my diploma, started to work, had a family...I'm sure you have a faint idea of what I am talking about.

...and head down

I have had a year that was punctuated with loads of life altering situations.  Many of which have deeply changed my vision of things.  During that year, I also got a copy of Richard Louv's Last child in the woods. Needless to say that I tremendously enjoyed this book as it was touching a fiber that is deep inside me.  I didn't take much work to have me convinced of the importance of the child in nature, I guess I had just forgotten over time.  I made it a point, then, to include nature in an other level in our lives ASAP.  (along with many other changes that I'll talk to you about soon)

But I know that putting these plans in action are not always easy, but seeing E's interest for wilderness definitely makes it easier.  I SO want to protect this love of the outdoor, of nature, that it comes naturally to be outside more then I could plan for the day.  Plus, what is best then to have a buddy to go outside?

I love seeing him walk, hand in pocket, protecting his new found treasure.

He turns every rock he finds to see what is hiding beneath.  I love looking at him explore with fascination every square inch of earth he is walking on, and experiment new paths to walk on. I have seen E be concentrated, I most of the time see him be happy, but in no other setting do I see this awe in him. Nature really is his favourite place.

I all have special connections with me children.  With X, it is his love of sport, of reading, and of music.  With M, it is the handiwork.  She has a patience for this type of work that goes beyond what I could think possible.   But I have to admit that I am particularly happy to have found this true love of nature in E.  I really feel this is a part of me that has been passed on, one that I cherish.  I can see hours of fun in the nearby patched of woods, and fun trips to other settings.  And the best part, it that this love we both have for the outdoors seems to be spreading to the rest of the bunch.

So to celebrate this first day off, we went to the forest nearby, and E did he does best

My best tips to enjoy nature with a toddler:

  • Do start with shorter rides, and progressively do longer ones, to let the child get accustomed to walking long periods of time
  • Have the child wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable and that will not restrict his movement (and clothes that you don't mind being dirty...they will be!)
  • Make sure that the child has either pockets of a small bag to collect treasures, and once back home, treat them as such.  Putting them on display in the child room is a fantastic way to create a continuity in this experience.
  • Talk to the child during the walk, pointing at things, but also let the sounds of nature enter freely the ears of your child.  Show her how to listen to bird sounds or other nature sounds by showing them how you are attentive to these sounds yourself, they pick up more on what we do then what we say...
  • Enjoy yourself.  They are picking that up too.


  1. I love this post. So simple... so heartfelt
    Enjoy your holidays and goodluck with the changes

  2. I just found your blog and I LOVE it! You are a truly inspiring mother!

  3. I have a little nature lover too. He truly comes alive when he is outside and I understand completely that desire to nurture and protect this love. I too read Last Child in the Woods. I already knew of the benefits of being outdoors but like you, other things just seem to take over. It was only a couple of pages in before I decided that I needed to make a real effort to ensure my children spend time outdoors in nature (not just the yard) everyday. Beautiful post.

  4. Thank you for your comments ladies!

    Kate, I totally relate when you say that your child comes alive when he is outside. E is *just* like that!