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Exploring nature with your grandchild

Teaching children to appreciate nature will help them find their place in the world.
Teaching children to appreciate nature will help them find their place in the world.

Teaching children to respect all life forms is an important lesson and one that can be quite enjoyable to give.  There are always lots of life forms around us, even if we live in an apartment in the city.  Plants can be grown indoors, and birds and bugs tend to accommodate most environments.  A walk around your neighborhood with a young child or grandchild can help them appreciate the natural world, with just a little guidance from the involved adult.

If you walk with bags to pick up stray trash, you are imparting a sense of responsibility for maintaining the beauty of the environment. Soon your little one will be wanting to help pick up stray bits of trash, too.  If you are at an outing at the local playground or park, it is a good time to help make them aware of the trees, the bark, the branches, the roots. Follow up by reading Sidney Sheldon's The Giving Tree, a lovely tale about a tree that provides shade, and apples, and even a resting place.  Learning to appreciate things around us that are easily taken for granted will help enlarge your child's view of life.

Respecting all forms of life will enhance the peacefulness of your child or grandchild and help increase it in the world.  When a child understands the value of each bug and bird, they are less likely to destroy the environment.  So many traditional stories teach children a negative view of wildlife (the Big Bad Wolf of Little Red Riding Hood or in the Three Little Pigs). Learning that each species has value and should have respect for their part in the ecosphere will contribute to the large community of life.

In the Arlington area, consider a foray to River Legacy Parks. They even provide classes for the preschool set.

In the Dallas area, there is Texas Discovery Gardens. There is a cost for admission but they do offer discount rates for seniors. They have both gardens and a special butterfly garden, so bring your camera.

In the Fort Worth area, there is the Botanical Gardens.  With ample room for children to run, the gardens are a beautiful spot to see wildlife including turtles, butterflies, bees, dragonflies and many types of flowers. There is no admission to the gardens, but an admission is required at the Japanese Gardens.

Just north of Ft. Worth is the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge.  Called an urban wilderness, they provide 3600 acres of land for hiking and adventures.  There is a small fee for admission to the park.  Check their calendar, as they have frequent events.


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