Issue -6- Sensitivity towards nature
Each issue of SPROUTS starts with a small write-up on the chosen theme followed by interesting activity ideas for you to explore with your child at home.
Click here to read more about the idea of SPROUTS and how you too can contribute as well as subscribe to it.
"It's earth day today", said my son
"We went on a nature walk."
He seemed more at peace today
And unusually eager to talk.
"First we planted some seeds
And some plants that aunty had bought."
"We always helped in the garden
But for him it is a novelty", I thought.
"Then we looked under a rock; there were BUGS
It was SO scary to see"
I remembered a time spent splashing in rain puddles
With frogs and small fry for company
"We listened to birds singing
And tried to spot where they were."
I wondered why he was so excited
Birds were right outside our door!
The memories of my childhood tugged at me
The sights and scents sublime;
Summers spent up in mango trees
Without caring about wasted time.
Kids know so much these days
But can Nat Geo be a guide
To the joy ... the wonder ... the awakening of senses ...
That feeling deep inside?
I felt a twinge as I heard him say
"We found nature today."
In our big concrete jungle
Had it really gone that far away?
He snuggled close and asked me
"When can we go to nature again?"
I shut out thoughts of our next nature getaway
"Lets go out and enjoy the rain."
SPROUTS ACTIVITIES: Exciting activity ideas to develop sensitivity towards nature in children.
You can make this on your next outdoor picnic. Look for a dried bush/branch having multiple branches. You can use each twig to hang something interesting you have found/made/painted etc. Bring it back home to hang in your room as a memoir.
Gather sounds of water eg waterfall,sea, pebble tossed into water etc. You can record, make the sound, search for clips on line etc.. Compose a song or play music where you use these sounds. Alternatively blend them into an existing song or instrumental piece. You could also use "live water"Wind can be used the next time round and so on.
Once a month have a nature theme at home. On that day,
work nature into your daily routine in ordinary things that you do. Here are some ideas of things you can do. Add rose petals to your bath. Play nature music (or if you dwell in a peaceful area, don't play music but listen to natural sounds). Get the smell of nature within - flowers, ripe fruit, grate citrus peels and boil in water, use herbs and oils like eucalyptus, make turmeric/pudina paste etc. Derive inspiration from nature to decorate your food and make it colorful. Use natural flavors. Add some pudina (mint) to water to get a different taste. Bring potted plants indoors. Wear natural fabric. Open up the house to sunlight and breeze. Have breakfast in the balcony or terrace - or maybe camp outdoors at night. Keep looking for ideas to make this day special and once a month bring nature close to your life.
Try your hand at stone art. Carve stone or engrave into it or paint/colour it. Try this out with different types of stones which you can find outdoors or procure easily. Experiment with different materials and tools. Searching online will bring up stone painting techniques but before trying out any of these, let the children experiment on their own. If the stone imparts color (eg coal, limestone), it can be used to create a sketch/mural etc. Display in your garden. You can create a theme display or use it to create a plant border or path border.
Switch off all electrical appliances at home. Go and check the electric meter - has it come to a halt? If it is still rolling ahead, figure out where the "leak" lies. Then switch on different appliances one at a time and find out how fast it moves (how much electricity is consumed). Plan how to conserve electricity consumed within family. Check if next bill reflects your effort. Older children can try and understand what the saving of electricity means in terms of how much is produced (by various methods of generation), what the current deficit is etc.
Do this as an activity before trying to promote children to use natural materials or go anti plastic. Try using alternatives and let them compare. For eg they can make a bag from cloth (jute, cotton etc) and see how it compares with a plastic bag on different criteria like cost, strength, exposure to climate, ease of use etc. Or compare using wooden clothes clips instead of plastic ones, clay flower pots instead of plastic ones, biodegradable versus ordinary cleansers (you can let them experiment with degradation to understand what it means). Present the findings/ratings in tabular form or some other representation. If plastic works out to be the better choice, they will still understand the resistance to giving up plastic despite knowing it's harmful effects :)
Think of what parts of nature you come across in your daily life. It could be birds chirping in the morning orenjoying breeze at night or watching clouds or looking at stars or watering plants. Become aware of these small things which may not even be realized in the hustle bustle of daily routine. Find more opportunities to connect with nature ... a tree you can climb, observing plants which have flowered or borne fruit in your apartment, observing shape of moon, observing seasons and their characteristics (climate, which fruits/veggies are available, how ecosystem varies) etc. Record in a nature journal / share with others / keep adding to a "nature & me" collage you have prepared.
Play the "adjective hunt" game outdoors. Parents (or second team if there are teams) make a list of adjectives and children are supposed to find things which can be described by that adjective. For eg hard, smooth, shapeless, pungent, glowing, fragrant, bitter, gigantic etc. Person (or team) who can complete list first is the winner.
(Genie Santrupta, Genie Trupti, Genie Sarang, Genie Kirti,Genie Meghna, Genie Priyanka, Genie Subha, Genie Santrupta, Genie Ratnesh, Genie Aditi)
Phones: 25202510; 41161575; 98867-24518
Geniekids Learning Center: No 3023, 13th Main, 8th Cross, HAL 2nd Stage, Bangalore-08.