By Brandi Vezina
First things first: If you want children to connect to the living world, turn off the screens in your home and get outside.
The best way to create a connection to the earth is to get outdoors and explore the living, breathing world around you. Take the children with you and allow them to use all five of their senses to connect to the environment around them. It will be a great learning experience, especially if it begins at an early age.
Children learn to value the world around them based upon the relationships and values of the adults in their world. Teaching children worldviews similar to David Suzuki’s, “What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves,” will signify an innate connection to the earth. Children who think of the earth’s resources with compassion and care will learn to care for the planet and make the connection between their actions and impacts upon the living world.
List of activities to get kids outside:
Pick berries at a local farm, make pies with berries picked, paint bird houses, play at parks, plant a garden, go to a beach/stream and collect shells, go on a boat ride, have a picnic outside, plant flowers in your own yard, water flowers nightly, collect water in a rain barrel, visit an animal rehabilitation sanctuary, go bird watching, compost at home, fly a kite, rent a cabin, yearly, go camping, play ball and catch, play in the snow, make a snowman, go snowshoeing, tobogganing.
Water is our connection to life. Without water there would be no life on Earth. To illustrate this to your children, take a Family Water Audit and add up all the water each family member uses in a week. By demonstrating turning the water off, as family members brush their teeth, this teaches children to value the earth’s water as a resource. Another example is to explain to children why you keep glass bottles of water in the fridge, as opposed to running water, in order to enjoy a cold glass of water to drink. These experiences help children foster a positive relationship with Mother Earth.
Often times, adults take our earth’s resources for granted. Learning, as a family, to value these resources will ensure values passed down from generation to generation. Valuing resources is as easy as turning lights off when leaving a room; in turn, reducing Green House Gas emissions, therefore, saving the family budget. Teaching children to respect the household budget is a value in itself. Families should work together to support one another and each family member contributes to the family as a whole.
Let love and kindness lead you throughout this life. We were brought to this planet to love, appreciate and share the earth with other people and animals. What happens to one part of the web has an impact on the entire web of life.
It is fundamental that children are taught to love themselves, their family members, and family pets within the first five developmental years of their life. The values instilled within the first few years of a child’s life will shape their adult life. Seeing the earth as a mother and the ground as our ancestors will fundamentally change your child’s worldview.
Make kindness your way and life; shaping a better world for generations to come.
Brandi Vezina is committed to making life better for children and the planet. Brandi is an educator, motivational speaker, health expert, singer and model. She brings her lively spirit to any organization she works with.
Brandi is a strong supporter of youth, women and recovering men. She is committed to a healthy lifestyle role and community activism. Brandi Vezina enjoys teaching how to nurture your mind, body and spirit and live the life you have always dreamed of. Visit www.brandivezina.ca