“Children will tend to value what you value, so start noticing nature yourself, taking a few minutes each day to become more aware of the other-than-human world around you”.-Scott. D. Sampson
Three months before I has Lucas, my mom bought me a book called, “How to raise a Wild Child” by Scott D. Sampson. It hands down beat every baby book I had read throughout my pregnancy. Why? Because it is not a book that has should’s and should not’s. It is about teaching our children and letting our children teach us, to slow down the craziness of life, to step into nature every day, to notice and become more aware with all of our senses, how incredibly connected we are to ALL of nature. From the food we eat, to the animals walking this earth, to the water we drink, to the trees that shade us…
And the way that children learn best is through experiential play. They are naturally curious, much more open-minded than most adults and by actively playing without a plan, they are developing their brain and gaining social and emotional skills. It is our job to get out of the way and let them play and explore.
My mom was an amazing example for me. She taught us to camp early on, most of our vacations were in the mountains, and she prioritized making sure we spent way more time outdoors than indoors.
Watching my son play is possibly the most rewarding activity I have ever observed. He looks at everything with wonder and is attentive to his entire surroundings.
The book talks about an article published by the Wire that listed the five best toys of all time. They were 1. Stick 2. Box 3. String 4. Cardboard Tube 5. Dirt They have no designated roles so kids can adapt them to anything they want. The only limitation is their imagination.
My love for nature was huge before I had Lucas but it has infinitely become so much more since having him. Most of our memories have been made in nature. We have collected rocks, splashed in the waves, discovered snow. I have a picture of him as an infant in the carrier when he first started noticing things and he is looking up at a tree with his eyes wide open. Our world, our outside world is fascinating and a part of all of us. I want my son and I to move through this world with as much kindness, compassion and knowledge as possible. Our children deserve to play, to discover the world with their hands, to understand the circle of life and to do it without expectations. Playing just for the sake of playing.
Sampson does a stellar job of laying out the scientific evidence that shows how much connecting with nature has a direct influence on brain chemistry and brain growth and how it has incredibly positive effects on children’s confidence, self-esteem, awareness, coping skills and attention span as well as playing a positive role in their academics.
I highly recommend the book and cannot wait to explore more with Lucas.
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”.- John Muir
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