One of my favourite quotes when I think about children is; “As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees.” (Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth)
It is this magical and unique perspective that is essential for children to embrace as they grow and learn. Living in this part of the world can sometimes restrict and limit a child’s opportunity to explore in nature and can easily be forgotten amongst the concrete and indoor play options. Don’t let this be an excuse, there are so many opportunities to explore nature – even in the middle of summer and saying yes to time in nature will not only benefit your child but will refresh your soul as well.
Some easy places to enjoy nature:
– Local parks – take a stroll, enjoy the sounds and colours and textures, roll down a hill, lay down and watch the clouds
– Beaches – close your eyes and listen to the waves, look for shells, feel the motion of the water rush over your feet, feel the grains of sand
– Head out to the vast desert dunes – Enjoy the patterns of the wind on the sand, the colour, the texture and the vast amount of space.
While the weather heats up, try these places to enjoy nature without overheating:
– Green Planet – the amazing indoor rainforest in Dubai
– An aquarium (most Emirates have their own) – sit and spend time watching the fish move, look at the beautiful colours and admire them
– Head out for a water adventure – Kayak through the mangroves in Abu Dhabi, snorkel at Snoopy Island in Fujairah, visit Hatta Dam or go for a swim at the local beach to cool off.
– Visit Al Ain – nature galore is waiting to be explored
– Visit a local wetland such as Ras Al Khor in Dubai (the viewing huts have AC), watch the beautiful flamingos enjoying the day and spot the fish swimming in the water
– Visit Earth Palette at Orbi at Mirdif City Centre
– Create your own indoor garden with your child
– Visit the local nursery or garden centre and grab some supplies and get creative
– Change your times for outings, visit your favourite outdoor nature locations early in the day or later in the evening to avoid the peak of the heat.
Nature is everywhere, we just need to stop and look for it, appreciate it and encourage children to appreciate and care for it. Notice the flowers in garden beds, look at the beautiful leaves on the trees, or a bird flying by and don’t forget to teach your children to look after our earth by setting an example by picking up rubbish, recycling, watering the garden, etc.