It's easy to help kids get connected with nature when all you have to do is send them out the back door in to their own backyard. But what if you live in an apartment or urban environment without a lot of parks nearby? Fortunately, nature is all around you ... you just have to know where to look. Here are a few tips for helping city kids get back to nature:
Park it: Visit a grassy park with trees. Even if your local city park only has a handful of trees, your little one can still learn by visiting this piece of nature. Ask your child to look closely at the trees, watch for insects, listen for birds, feel the bark, and rub the leaves or needles between her fingers. Bring along a piece of paper and pencils or crayons so that she can draw pictures or write about what she heard.
Get growing: You don't need a big yard to grow a garden. Bring nature indoors with a small houseplant, or take it up a notch by planting your own lush indoor garden. Kids can help out at every step along the way by selecting seeds and plants, preparing pots and soil, and watering plants as they grow.
Take a guide: Take A City Nature Walk by Jane Kirkland is a great guide for helping kids (and their parents!) find and identify nature in a city. Kirkland's book helps you think about nature in new ways as she guides you through the best human-made structures on which to find birds' nests, the wildflowers and insects you might find in an abandoned lot, and what to look for during each season (insects in the summer, berries and nut in the fall) to find nature in a city.