When our children come to us worried about what they’re seeing or feeling about the world, how we respond makes a big difference. Knowing how to manage our own anxiety is just as important as supporting our children as they learn to experience theirs.
Experiencing joy is about connection, whether it’s to others or the world around us. Noticing the wonders of nature, big and small, is one way to connect and inspire joy.
Taking a Rainbow Walk is a simple, fun way to practice mindfulness with Littles using our sense of sight. Focusing on the world through a single sense is a powerful way to anchor our awareness...
How To Do It
This activity directs us to use our sense of sight to uncover what might not be readily seen. Step outside — or if the weather’s not exactly cooperating, you can try this indoors. Taking a picture of each find is a great way to tally up how many hearts you see.
Encourage your little one to look high and low, behind and under different objects: does the bark on that tree grow in a cool pattern? What’s under that pile of leaves?
If snow currently blankets your world, it might be more challenging to find heart shapes. Instead, create treasures for each other to find. Gather sticks of different lengths and lay them out in a heart or use one to draw a heart in the snow. Paint flat rocks with colorful hearts to leave around the neighborhood for others to find or if it’s a clear day, search out heart-shaped cloud formations.
The Power of Observation
When kids turn on their powers of observation, they often come up with delightful insights and share a perspective we might miss. On a recent treasure hunt with my 7-year-old daughter she showed me how simply changing your perspective reveals the unexpected.
A dormant vine clinging to the side of our house didn’t seem like much at first, but when my daughter noticed the way a thin branch curved and looped, she adjusted her point of view until it blended with the rest of the leafless plant to look like a heart (see the photo above for a sample of our finds and a hand-made creation).
Now, when we step outside, we see “found hearts” all around us and point out new ones when we walk the dog or play in the park. Noticing new hearts as the seasons change is especially exciting and motivating. Enjoy your heart-shaped hunt!
The Science Behind the Smiles
Besides enjoying the benefits of fresh air, being outdoors together is a great time to be in the moment with your child and notice the ways nature helps us use our senses to connect with the environment.
An Outdoor Sound Hunt is exactly what it sounds like: you walk, hike or sit with your kiddos outside, stay (relatively) quiet and try to "hunt" or notice all the different sounds you hear. This...
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and end of year celebrations, itâ€™s easy to breeze right past one of the most important transitions nature offers us: the beginning of winter marked by the winter solstice.
The autumn equinox recently occurred, officially heralding the return of the fall season. Can you feel fall in the air yet?Â The changing of the seasons is exciting. Perhaps weâ€™re looking forward to pumpkin spice flavors, falling leaves and upcoming holidays. For many of us, however, life goes on as usual. We donâ€™t always notice the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, and simply continue on with our activities and priorities. Continue reading “Honoring the Changing Seasons: Fall”