How to Connect Kids with Nature …
We are very fortunate to have Swan Bay Farm as our home away from home. It has become our sacred site – our place to escape from our busy working week, and find comfort and solace in a more natural environment.
Without a doubt, one of the greatest rewards I get from the hard work, labour and effort that goes into working on the land and maintaining our farm is the connection our kids have made with the farm, in particular, with the elements that make their farming experiences so real – the hardships, the seasonal changes, the reality of life and death, and the life lessons that come from living in this amazing environment.
Watching our boys working with and nurturing the animals often leaves me speechless. Whether it be working with the cows or sheep, always looking out for orphaned lambs or checking in on our chooks – it becomes a natural part of their routine and their contribution is invaluable. As young part-owners of Swan Bay Farm, they willingly invest their own time, energy and effort into making this place our own version of unique.
One of their favourite animals to work with is the chickens. The kids are always keen to check for newborns, collect the eggs and work out which ones to take away for incubating when our broody hens seem to have a lot to manage by themselves.
To watch a child hold a newborn chick is, quite honestly, one of the most beautiful things to see. A newborn chick appears so frail and tiny and a child understands by feel and touch the need to be so gentle. This connection with animals teaches children to be more aware of their closer, more immediate, natural world. They understand that they are wholly responsible for the survival of such a tiny animal, and when things can get a little tough, their sense of responsibility kicks and the focus turns to ensuring the wellbeing of this living creature.
When kids are engaged with nature, they perceive their greater world in a slightly different way – they respect what nature grows and nurture what impacts on them the most.
Children quickly learn to enjoy being outdoors and become more creative, rather than indoors in front of screens. They love being with animals and find fun and games around them. If we, as parents, friends orcarers can encourage this spontaneous activity, we will raise the next generation to be one that takes care and restores the world that we seem to have so vigorously tarnished.
There’s never been a better time to get kids connecting with nature – after all, they are what the future relies on.