For many families, the pandemic has turned the idea of entertainment inside out. I can’t count the number of times I’ve suggested that we go and (insert pre-COVID-19 activity here), then had to stop myself. My family has worked together to find ways to safely support local businesses, making lists of places and activities we’re excited to experience.
One place where we consistently find entertainment is our own backyard and neighborhood. We’ve been walking, playing outdoors, doing some planting, and watching birds and other wildlife. We even added a tree to our landscape — a ginkgo sapling that received the level of welcome usually reserved for a new sibling.
For busy moms, it’s a great feeling to take the time to witness the freedom and space children find when being outside. Author Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children & Nature Network, wrote, “Now more than ever we need nature as a balancing agent.” I’ve found inspiration in Louv’s books, including “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” and “Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature Rich Life.” These titles can both be found at Capital Area District Libraries in several formats.
I recently enjoyed a special mother-daughter “nature moment” while working in our yard. After planting seeds for hardy annual vegetables and flowers, my daughter wanted to learn how to repot a ranunculus plant. I showed her the basics, but she wanted to do the work herself. As she sat admiring her pot on the front step, she said in a delighted tone, “Mom, you’re teaching me how to garden!”
Experiences like this remind me that you never know as a mom what will resonate with your child. But sharing something you care about with them is always a great place to start.