Connecting to nature is important for children’s development, well-being, and kindergarten readiness. It can happen during the day and also the night. Since this is the longest night of the year in the north half of the world, how about a nature activity at night? Temperatures in many places are cold enough during the day, so a night time nature activity needs lots of warm clothes. With snowpants, hats, mittens, parkas, and boots, the family went outside last night just to walk around the block and see the Christmas lights in the neighborhood. (How can this be only the start of winter?)
Lots of nature learning happened while we were outside. For one thing, the world looks different at night. The lights had colors but what happened to the other colors? The evergreen trees looked just black. It was unfortunately too cloudy for stars but the only way kids know stars are there is by having some outside time at night. Every so often we could see the moon and it was big and round. Trees without leaves looked black too. Is that the same color as during the day? It’s not easy to see small things like rocks and plants at night. It’s almost like they disappeared. Night time sure feels different than during the day. There’s no warm sun and it’s very dark. When taking a walk all together the dark didn’t seem scary at all.
Journalist and author, Richard Louv, has written 8 books about this all-important connection between children, communities, and nature. He says that “The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of…the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” He attributes some alarming childhood trends to a “nature-deficit.” One of the solutions is to support opportunities for children to connect with nature.
I have often written about nature activities to do with kids during the day, but somehow never thought of a night time one. Days are so short, there’s lots of hours before bedtime to experience night. Is there a night time adventure that you and your child could have?
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