connecting to nature

Dinovember: Dinosaurs, Turkeys, and Nature

Dinosaurs and turkeys may be connected, but we all share a connection to nature. For young children, time in nature is part of their healthy development and well-being. Not only do we need to give thanks for the natural world, we all need to spend time with nature. After the hectic activity of the month, how about a nature walk with your child?

nature walk in cityWhile young children are not likely to find fossils or feathers on a walk, they should be able to locate some natural items. Cities have nature in pockets instead of big open areas but there may be fall leaves, dried flowers, pine cones, sticks, and rocks. The ground may have a blanket or snow or a carpet of fall-rain green. Besides looking down, we can look up to see the nature of the clouds in the sky. Trees will give clues about the season with colored leaves or bare branches. Our own bodies will respond to the rhythm of the season and the changes. We do not live separate from nature but as a part of it. Children need to experience how they feel different depending on the time of year.

We have just seen the incredible achievement of landing a space probe on a comet to further our knowledge and understanding of Outer Space and the Earth itself. While we look deep into space, we need to remember to look deep at what we have. In the words of Thomas Berry, in The Dream of the Earth, “Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.”

turkey-dino-382609_640-pbayPerhaps, children’s fascination with dinosaurs comes from their longing to know about the world and its mysteries. And, at the same time, the turkey reminds us to give thanks and be grateful. Perhaps, that’s the message of nature?

Neighborhood Nature Walk for Fall

Every year fall brings the same changes, and even though we know what will happen, it’s still exciting. The leaves turn bright colors, the wind swirls them in the air, the birds cry as they fly south, many outside plants dry and turn brown, and the days get shorter and shorter. But it’s all wonderful.

A walk in the neighborhood will show seasonal changes and if you have lived in the same area for a few years, kids will notice the cycle of these changes. It can be a feast for the senses.

fall nature walk


On our fall walk we saw some fall-colored leaves on the trees. Some had already fallen.


fall nature walk


We touched some seed pods. They looked kind of like blackberries, but the branches weren’t prickly and pokey.


fall nature walk


We smelled some fall flowers but they didn’t have any pretty smell. They were almost the same color as some of the leaves.


fall nature walk


We heard some birds in the sky as they flew south for the winter.


fall nature walk

When we got home, we ate some applesauce cookies from applesauce we made ourselves. One batch sure disappeared fast. Guess we’ll need to make some more.


(The video below has some of the same things!)

A simple activity like this is easy to forget, but it creates a background that’s a combination of change and sameness. Encouraging a connection to nature is critical for children who will need to create balance in their own lives in not very many more years. No matter the weather where you live, can you and your child go for a walk in the fall?