The Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, details the disconnect many children have with nature. While I don’t like to admit it, I’m observing, first-hand, how each generation, in my family, is becoming less interactive with the outdoors.
My parents are farmers. Planting, cultivating and harvesting require daily interaction with the land. As a child, on the farm, I spent more hours outside than inside. While many of these hours were in the position of “farmhand,” I also built forts, climbed trees, made mud pies, went sledding, and woke up to bird songs. As an adult, I still prefer the outdoors, requiring a daily dose of vitamin D. While my sons enjoy the outdoors, they don’t crave it. They made mud holes, hiked through the woods, and jumped in leaf piles, but they are more apt to take wear their headphones while raking the lawn, than listening to the breeze through the trees, or the chirp of the birds.
Although I considered confiscating headphones and teaching Tree Climbing 101, a “Back-to-Nature List” may be a better method of reintroducing the next generation to the outdoors. So, here’s my list.
*Dig a hole and fill it back in.
*Lie on the grass and watch the clouds change shape.
*Make a rainbow with a garden hose.
*Make mud pies.
*Feel the trunks of different trees and compare the texture.
*Listen to the wind.
*Make a leaf pile and jump in it.
*Collect different kinds of leaves.
*Catch snowflakes on your tongue.
*Make snow angels.
*Listen to the birds.
*Sleep under the stars.
*Find the perfect walking stick.
*Follow an ant.
*Build a fort out of sticks or snow.
*Wade in the water.
*Build a sandcastle.
*Find the Big Dipper.
Do you have a Back-to-Nature list? Let me know when you think of things to add.