"In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace." - Richard Louv, author of Last Child In The Woods
I have a boy. I'm so glad to have a boy. He has turned out to be such a delight. His first real experience with dirt came a few months ago when our neighbors were planting flowers and volunteered to watch Little Bear for a few hours.
Little Bear got nice and dirty. And he loved it. And I loved it for him.
I have done alot of reading on how children interact with nature. And I've come to understand that childrens' need to interact with nature is as important as their need to sleep.
One of my most recent favorite books on this subject is Last Child In The Woods by Richard Louv. He says, "as human beings we need direct, natural experiences; we require fully activated senses in order to feel fully alive."
I've been intrigued by this Waldorf "gnome" theme going on in some circles. I love the idea of imagining gnomes and fairies in nature. I have known children to create little places for their fairies. I remember making my home out of a willow tree and making delicious desserts out of mud (decorated by leaves and berries). Louv says, "nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses."
I am trying to remember that while the inside is often more comfortable (especially during the dead heat of summer or in the middle of winter), children are resilient. They can handle 30 minutes bundled up to experience nature - a walk through the forest, feeding the ducks or just looking at the fallen leaves in the backyard.