There are many things that parents, guardians, and teachers can do to helpchildren develop a love for nature.
Start young If you love nature yourself, it is very easy to develop this love in your children. Expose them to the natural world from the time they are young. Encourage them to play in the garden. Let them pick up and observe leaves, flowers, rocks, etc. Point out and name trees, insects, birds, and animals to them.
Involve them in the garden A great way to help children connect to nature is to get them to help in the garden. This will bring them in touch with the soil and they will encounter different kinds of insects, worms, and other intriguing creatures. Caring for plants, and seeing them grow and develop, is a wonderful opportunity for them to know the cycle of creation first hand. You can also help them set up a bird or butterfly feeder in the garden.
Take them into the wild Make trips to the wild a regular part of their growing years. Plan regular picnics and outings to nature spots around your city. Introduce them to the joys of hiking. Spend vacations visiting national parks or wildlife sanctuaries such as Kanha, Ranthambhore, or Corbett, where children can see wild animals in their natural environment.
Arouse their curiosity Encourage your children to observe things around them. Gift them with books or CDs about nature and wildlife. Take them along to museums or libraries. Better still, get them membership to a nature organisation such as the Bombay Natural History Society or the world wildlife fund, and encourage them to participate in the field trips and other activities organised by them.
Gift them a hobby Enhance their enjoyment of nature by giving them magnifying lenses, a pair of binoculars, or a simple telescope. Encourage your children to observe things they see and record them. Teach them to take notes. Get them to make sketches of what they see. Give older children a simple camera, if they show an inclination for photography. Buy your children field guides to the common animals, birds, insects, or trees in your area; identifying plants and animals they see during their trips will help increase their knowledge and make a fun activity into a life-long passion.
Teach them to conserve As they grow older, teach children to value nature. Encourage them to adopt conservation practices. More importantly, practice them yourself. Explain tochildren how small things like using water carefully and keeping lights switched off when they do not need them can contribute towards conserving nature.
Getting your children to cherish nature will not just help them become responsible citizens, but will even make them better custodians of our home planet, the Earth.