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Teaching Kids To Appreciate Wildlife

Teaching Kids To Appreciate Wildlife
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An appreciation of wildlife is important for kids. Not only does it teach them to care for animals and respect nature, it also helps ensure the planet is in good hands for generations to come. You don’t have to spend hours trekking in the great outdoors to instil these values though. Exploring your garden can be just as enlightening.

Insects

Teaching Kids To Appreciate WildlifeEvery garden, no matter how small, is home to a variety of insects. Search grass and plants for ladybirds, turn over rocks and stones to find spiders and beetles and get the watering can out to entice worms from their hidey holes. If you’re not a fan of creepy crawlies then invest in a bug magnifier, which your child can use to catch bugs and examine them before letting them go free again.

Birds

Even if the weather isn’t brilliant for going outside, you can still do some bird watching through the window from the comfort of your sofa. Hang a bird feeder in the garden to encourage birds to visit and get your children to make notes and descriptions of the different types of birds that visit.

Hedgehogs

Teaching Kids To Appreciate WildlifeHedgehogs are pretty shy creatures and so kids will find it exciting to catch a glimpse of one, or even create a home for a spiky little friend. Encourage hedgehogs into your garden by leaving some areas wild, or creating a compost heap. Avoid using slug pellets or any other chemical repellents.

Hedgehogs are great for pest control, so once you’ve enticed them into your garden you won’t need the pellets anyway. It’s also worth leaving out some food and water for them – hedgehogs love meaty dog or cat food, you can even buy special hedgehog food for them to enjoy. Make sure they are able to get into the garden and don’t forget to make any ponds safe. The last thing you want is for your child’s first sighting of a hedgehog to be a floating one!

Of course, wildlife isn’t all about insects and small animals; there are loads to be learned from plants and flowers too.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers are a relatively easy plant for kids to grow, so you can let your child take responsibility for planting and caring for them. They’ll grow to an impressive size and even when they die, kids can delight in eating the seeds from them. Sunflowers are also big and bright; they’ll pique your child’s interest as well as encouraging bees into the garden.

Vegetable patches

If you have the space, then a vegetable patch can be a great way to get kids involved not only in the garden but also in the kitchen. Children will learn a sense of responsibility as well as gaining knowledge about plants and life in the garden. They’ll also get a fantastic sense of achievement when it’s time to harvest the vegetables.

Giving kids their own space

Allowing your child to tend their own section of the garden will encourage them to keep it tidy and nourished. This could take the form of a rockery or even some plants in pots. You can buy smaller sized tools specifically intended for children’s small hands and knowing they have their own responsibilities and the tools for the job, can help them take charge and build self-esteem.

As most are closed in, the garden is a great place to allow kids a bit of freedom to explore nature. As well as learning to care for and respect wildlife, kids will also benefit from getting plenty of fresh air and exercise. Gardens are for enjoying, so get out there and have some fun together.

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About Maria Brett

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About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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