Friday, 19 October 2012

Exploring nature with your baby...

I've posted on this before... so I don't want to drone on and on and on... but I'm seriously, and increasingly, convinced that the less toys we shove in front of our children, the better... Ava has one box of toys... she'll play with them for about half an hour and then get bored. That's not because she doesn't have enough... I really think its because they're plastic and big and chunky and not real. She wants texture; rough, smooth, big, small, sticky, wet... REAL!

This kinda stuff is much more fun...

And isn't that how she'll best learn?! By exploring the REAL stuff? Yes, I've got to keep a close eye on her... yes, I can't leave her alone with a bowl of pine cones and conkers in the same way I can leave her alone with a loud, blaring Vtech toy (sorry Vtech... I'm just not a fan!), yes I know they are covered in big, fat, outdoor germs... but isn't that life? Isn't that all part of growing up and exploring and finding out about the world?!

Babies are so naturally curious... they want to find out about the world, and so much of me thinks we should make the most of that. In a few years she will choose the flashy, noisy computer games, the DS, the TV (or whatever inventions have been thought up by then!) over a walk in the park looking at grass and birds and leaves... so why on earth do I find myself sticking screens and noisy toys in front of her now?!

If I'm sounding preachy... its because I'm preaching this stuff to myself. It might be raining outside and I've got a grizzly baby and the easiest thing to do is to stick the TV on for 20 mins while I try and get some down time... but what about heading out into the rain and watching that little girl's wide eyes as she's introduced to raindrops and puddles and wellies and raincoats? Isn't that just so exciting? When you're allowed to get wet before heading home to a nice cosy bath?! Shouldn't I encourage her to marvel at thunderstorms? To wonder at the tiny butterfly wings? To hold a little ladybird?

I read this great article this week by Scholastic on babies and nature, and found their closing paragraph to be so true and so inspiring...

Introducing your child to all aspects of nature will help her with language development, and will give her an appreciation for the needs of other creatures and a sense of pride at helping wildlife flourish. Enjoy these experiences together!

But perhaps, most of all, I want her to appreciate nature for this reason...

For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20, The Bible.

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