Here’s an easy and fun way to encourage your child to observe nature around him.
Grab a calendar. Any kind will do: wall calendar, desk calendar, daily, weekly, monthly—it’s up to you.
Record in it all of the “firsts” that you see in nature. For example, when you see the oak tree in your yard start to lose its leaves in the autumn, flip to that date and jot it down. You might make notes on the dates that you see the first snowfall, the first robin, the first magnolia blossom or daffodil or ladybug or housefly or hummingbird or dragonfly. You can adjust the nature friends to your particular region; just look for “firsts.”
As you continue this little project over the year, your child will catch on and offer observations too. But the beauty of this Calendar of Firsts is that next year, your child will be looking for those familiar nature friends. “Mommy, is it time for the hummingbirds to come yet?” And you can pull out your calendar and see when that nature friend was “at home” last year and when your child might expect it this year.
It doesn’t take long to jot down the “firsts” that you and your child observe in nature, but it sets up a wonderful lifelong habit and begins a beautiful relationship with God’s creation around you.
Tip: A Calendar of Firsts is also a great informal way to introduce a calendar to your child.