I'm curious about something.
I've been rolling an idea – a project for families – around in my head for weeks. I can't stop thinking about it, so I thought I'd come right out to ask.
I'm wondering if this project would be something you would welcome in your and your children's lives.
My question is: Do you have a desire to learn more about the natural world with your child?
More about the ryhthm of the seasons, the hows-and-whys of the magic that plants and animals make?
More specifically, does something to engage your head, heart, and hands with nature and the seasons speak to you?
All answers are welcome. The yeses, the nos, and the maybes.
I'd also love to know 1. if you are urban, suburban, or rural; 2. if you feel knowledgeable about nature already or not, and 3. if you feel you and your child would benefit from a deeper connection to and understanding of the natural world.
If you feel more comfortable you are most welcome to email your thoughts to me as well!
Thank you for taking the time to comment. It means so much.
P.S. For those who are wondering, yes – my book is still unfolding. However it is a slow journey (painfully slow at times) and I've learned not to force it. So it's going to take time. Lots of time.
I anticipate a couple of projects happening in parallel along the way, allowing my creativity to keep flowing. Thus the questions above!
57 thoughts on “A question for you”
Yes…..we love to be out in nature.we live in the city (Madidon) but are out on hikes/scavenger hunts and exploring regularly….we live the Aboretum, state parks and Olbrich gardens. My middle child is definetly our nature lady……the baby 16 mo is becoming very fun too outside exploring!
Yes, for sure. We live in St. Paul Minnesota and I very much want to learn how to help my kids connect with nature in an urban setting. I don’t feel particularly knowledgeable about nature and would be so glad to have something to help both my kids and me develop a deeper connection with the natural world. It feels like a bit of a dying art that we could all benefit from.
1. We live in rural WI but “In the city”. We plan to move to a country home/farmette within 2-3 years.
2. Sort of.
3. Yes, defintitley. Times three. I have a 6.5, 4, and almost 2 year old.
I am suburban, but on the outer edge of town so rural is in sight.
I want to learn more, especially about wild edibles and seed gathering and sustainable lifestyle.
Absolutely, my children can benefit from this! We are a homeschooling family of 3 boys – 14 yo, 9 yo and 15 mo.
We’re suburban; I feel mildly knowledgable about nature; and I’d LOVE to learn more. Baby girl (19m) and I spend a lot of time outside; having more knowledge to share would be great. 🙂
I have a strong connection to nature, and I would love to be able to foster a stronger connection in my children. I think all children could benefit from a stronger connection with the natural world. We live in the suburbs of Chicago. I grew up on the East Coast and spent a lot of my time exploring the woods.
I live in suburban St. Louis Missouri. I have always been drawn to nature and being outdoors. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about nature/outdoorsy stuff. My wish is to pass that love of nature on to my children. I have boys ages 8 and 4. I’m sure curious to know what you have in mind.
Yes definatly!! We live in Verona but can find nature around us. I consider myself somewhat knowledgable and my kids and i are forever curious.
We live in rural Tennessee, but have only been here 2.5 years. Before that we lived in Minneapolis. We used the wonderful park spaces, lakes, and the Mississippi, to learn as much as possible. I think my children were able to form a good strong base of knowledge and connection there. Here at first we lived on 116 acres of farm/wooded land, with a nice creek. We were all able to connect well, and learn more from that space. We are temporarily in a space with little natural space. We do what we can to connect, but there is definitely a lack of connection here. I’d love to be able to give that to them anywhere. Urban, suburban, and rural.
My husband and I are very knowledgeable regarding nature, but we welcome any opportunity to engage our kids with it more deeply. We live in a very small town in rural WI with our 6.5 year old,, 4.5 year old, and 13 month old boys. I personally grew up camping, fishing, hunting, and otherwise spending a lot of time outdoors with my father (as an avid outdoorsman’s only child).
yes, currently live in town, while lucky to have lots of open space in Colorado and a grand view of the Rocky Mountains! Is desperate for a small farm!
Yes. I feel like I’m fairly knowledgeable about the natural world in the SE US, but my 3 year old son seems to already have surpassed me and is asking questions that I don’t know answers to! We are rural.
We are in the suburbs of Bangor, Maine, but planning to move to a little further out into more rural land sometime soon.
I feel sort of knowledgable – definitely would want to feel more at home in nature.
We have three kiddos, and absolutely want them to be very comfortable in nature.
Curious to see what you’re planning! 🙂
Yes, yes, and yes!!!!! I would love this!! We live in a suburban area with plenty of preserves and beaches. My knowledge of nature is minimal. All I know is that it is my happy place and where I feel most at peace.
YES! I live in a 1st ring suburb of Mnpls. I am purposeful of doing nature projects throughout the year with my son and the little gal I care for. We plant gardens, make homemade bird feeders, catch frogs (and mice by accident!) – but I am always looking for more! I love your perspective & look forward to seeing what you come up with!!
Yes! I wish I knew more so I could share more with my kids!
YES! We live in a mid-size city in Oregon with loads of nature around us, but are in constant desire to be out in it more than we are! Yes, I have a good knowledge of the natural world (as do my children-ages 10, 8, 5, and 3) and as Waldorf-ish based homeschoolers we strive to have this be the basis of our days. Somehow, we’ve slipped away from this idea of “nature everyday” replaced with classes, groups, and lessons (and lots of driving!) Having grown up in rural Montana, I struggle to find “my place” in which there is solitude and true nature (not with a highway buzzing by). I think this is a great idea, Rachel, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it!
I only have a minute right now. But, I would love this! I am suburban/rural.
I would be very interested! We are suburban, outside Milwaukee. I feel relatively knowledgeable, but my 13 year old daughter knows much more than me! My 11 year old son would prefer to stay indoors more so I want him to further know the magic of our natural world. Who wouldn’t benefit from a deeper connection to the natural world? Our natural world needs us!
We get out into nature as much as we can. We are in the suburban desert though. So our access to things not spiny is a bit limited. Though I would love to glean more information about the environment around us.
My answer is a BIG, YES! My partner and I have been together for just a couple of years and we have a little one coming up on 9 months. Both of us have spent countless days and nights in the outdoors and we both thrive when exposed. The interesting thing is neither of us is very knowledgeable about plants names, trees, birds and bugs. We know we have seen them before, but they remain nameless. Apart of me enjoys my comfort in just being surrounded, but then I would love to be able to give my child an education about his surroundings. I feel the more involved he and I can be the deeper the respect we will all have as a family.
To answer your other question, we are an urban family, seeking to escape.
1. Small town not far from urban/suburban area in an otherwise pretty rural state, so bordering urban and rural. Best of all worlds, in many ways.
2. Not knowledgeble at all. I can tell spiders from insects and frogs from toads, at least.
3. Yes! Just FYI, I come at it from a Christian/divine creator (Episcopalian) perspective but am happy to “bring it myself” when working with something that isn’t faith-oriented 🙂 (been reading your blog for something like 4 years now, maybe.)
Yes! We would love something like that!
1. We are suburban/rural. Kind of bordering both worlds. We live on a river and get to see all the river wildlife daily! (Just watched a mama turtle make a nest and lay her eggs in our backyard!! Sadly… That same night an animal ate them… Oh Mother Nature!)
2. Semi-knowledgeable. Constantly striving to expand my knowledge. What plants we can and can’t eat, names of birds/insets, growing food etc
3. I believe everyone can ALWAYS benefit from a deeper connection to Mother Nature
Yes! We’re suburban, I’m fairly knowledgable of our local nature (midwest/northwoods, USA), and of course we’d benefit!.
We are rural and we live IN a forest but are a lovely 10 mins to our small mountain town 🙂
I do feel quite knowledgeable about nature. I studied environmental biology and we’ve been foraging and learning what’s edible in the woods for the past couple of years. It was very ingrained in me as a child, not because of my parents, but walking lots in nature with my grandparents.
I think ALL children should get to experience more nature and that more adults need to be making the effort to take them out of the city (if that’s where they live). I think adults could also use some rekindling of that connection (if it was lost during adulthood).
Love this project you’re up to 🙂
Thank you for adding this spiritual perspective, Ashley. As you know, I write from a secular angle do it’s great to hear your words on how you could adapt something to suit your family’s needs.
Yes! My homeschooled children (8 and 4) already get so much from being in nature. They are always ready for more. We’re somewhere between suburban and rural (on an acre w/corn fields and a park on 3 sides). I know some, but they know more. 🙂
Yes yes yes!!! We would love a nature book! We are in a suburban area in So. CA. I often look at your posts/photos and wish that I had the body of information/experience to share with my littles. Thanks Rachel!!
I live in a small town in southern Indiana, near a big city. Interestingly, I recently ran into a former student. He will be going in 11th grade and I had him in fourth. He told me he just doesn’t like school and just wishes school could be like fourth grade where we spent so much time in the creek, learning about “real” things. Be still my heart. I have a Playdate each week for my gramerlings and we usually do two sessions in the creek. No age barriers, the one year old has just as great a time as the thirteen year old, along with the other twelve ages in between. They just don’t tire of it. It is interesting to me as a teacher that does much nature and art, who still manages to have students that excel on state exams. Hmmm.
Yes, for sure. We live in a small town in Northern Arizona. My husband and I both work, so the challenge for us is fitting in quality time (and lessons) in the short time we have with our daughter after work or on the weekends. I often look at your blog and wish I had more time for teaching my own child during the day, but am inspired when I see you write about how we all have imperfect lives and we must make the most of them. So that’s what we do – lots of reading, learning, and playing after work and on the weekends.
Yes! We live in an urban area but are blessed with a large backyard with lots of trees overhead. We’re also a ten minute walk to the river.. We’re nature lovers for sure, and having ways to expand knowledge and to make our natural world more present day to day are most welcome!
Hi Rachel, this sounds fantastic. I have benefited so much over the years from reading online about the learning experiences that other parents have pursued. One of the things that first drew me to your space here were the unusual (for lack of a better word) tutorials. There does seem to be space for more science in blogosphere. I’d love to see what you come up with. Good luck!
This is a big topic where I am in Brooklyn,NY. We have an amazing amount of green space and it’s used way more than in any midwest suburb I’ve lived in. My toddler and I have taken a ‘forest school’ class with Brooklyn Forest School and we are taking another class this summer with Tinkergarten. Check them both out for ideas if that is something you are thinking about!
Leslie (Mother Brooklyn)
Connecting in and with nature is definitely a top priority in our family. We spend lots of time outdoors in all seasons. We live in a suburban setting, with forests and mountains just minutes away. My children are 3 and 5 and are very in tune to nature. We feel knowledgeable about nature. We are always excited and interested in new ideas and fun ways to engage. My older son has recently become interested in foraging and I have reread some of your posts on this.
Yes, sounds intriguing. I grew up in the Pacific northwest but was transplanted four years ago to the desert-suburban Phoenix. My seasons now have no familiar rhythm, and nature is filled with spiny, stinging, poisonous things…
Yes would love to know more and share the knowledge with my children. We live in the suburbs. There are great parks and nature centers near us where we go and they have classes.
Yes – suburban, pretty knowledgeable and learning more every day, and yes, I believe being aware of the natural world is important. The little babe and I are out every day, exploring and discovering. Sometimes it is just spotting squirrels being chased by birds or a new flower that came into bloom. Sometimes it is something exciting like a snake in the middle of the road (alive!) or a some deer in the woods.
1. suburban. US expat living in Australia.
2. Huge learning curve. Seasonal changes are soooo different than my native NY. 40 years is a long time to live in one hemisphere so I have a lot of knowledge which is not so useful here. And birds! After a short time, I know more about the local birds than most people I meet, and they don’t know much.
3. More nature, yes. We try to include time spent in nature often, and we attend workshops and organized nature walks whenever we can to learn more about the local wildlife. Even working in the garden (well, me working, them climbing trees and collecting flowers and bugs) brings a sense of peace.
We are very much in an urban/suburban environment with a deficient outdoor space!
I feel we’ve learned a lot in the past ten years but that only makes you realize how much you still don’t know!
Nature and kids along with living books are the base of our homeschool philosophy. We make it a priority to be outside everyday as much as possible. I’m always accumulating resources that support and nurture our relationship with God’s creation and if you my dear web friend were to produce more materials to connect us to our values I would jump at the opportunity.
I love learning, and I love nature, so absolutely! 1) We live in a rural area in the forest. 2) I don’t feel very knowledgeable, but I suppose it depends who I’m compared too. =) 3) I think everyone, young or old, can benefit from an increased knowledge of our workd.
Ohhh…Rachel! I have (seriously!) been dreaming of this. While I grew up “exploring” nature & appreciating her beauty, I still don’t feel as knowledgeable as I wish I was. While we live in Madison, we spend a lot of time in nature, honoring the rhythms of the seasons, cycles of the moon, snacking on the wild edibles that we are confident identifying (violet, dandelion, plantain, purslane, lambs quarters, chickweed) & growing as much food as we can in our little square foot gardens. That said, at my daughter’s request, we are venturing in to a chapter of home schooling & my 10 year has laid out a plan/deep desire to learn more about just this… the natural world that surrounds us each & every day. Thank you for inquiring, I can’t help but feel that the ‘stars of serendipity’ are aligned! +*+* Beautiful blessings to you & your sweet family! xo
We live in the city (a town home at that). We like to go out to the park or where ever we can to explore nature and all it encompasses. We also home school and I believe the best way to teach is hands on. I also believe it’s important to foster curiosity in children. The more they inquire about the more they learn. And we as the parents also enjoy learning about and appreciating the complexity and beauty in our natural surroundings.
Rural: at the foot of the Adirondacks. Lots of nature-y stuff to do in these parts. I feel pretty knowledgable IRT nature, biology and that sorta thing, but am always interested to learn more (no expert, here).
My kids collect a lot of feathers, rocks and stuff like that, and we have a pretty good sized veg garden. We haven’t done any official home-schooling with anything nature-oriented, so far we just spend a lot of time outside.
Count me in! I wanna hear more.
Yes! I would LOVE to learn more about nature… especially as it relates to parenting our little ones. I live in the city now but spent my childhood growing up in Viroqua so we were close to a lot of wonderful parks and we spent LOTS of time outside!
Yes! We live in a smaller town in Alberta, Canada. We would love to learn more and have growth as a family in nature. We know some things about nature and the natural world but there are endless things we could learn more about.
I’ve been thinking about this all day, I really wanted to give you a substantial answer, but being busy, so the quick one is yes, but usually material is made for American Users, so even when it’s very beautiful I usually would not get it because the nature in my area is different, even when there are similarity.
My husband, sons (ages 2 and almost 3) live on a farm in the middle of a Longleaf Pine forest in NC. We spend hours outside each day, regardless of the weather. My Norwegian grandmother always says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” We take this to heart and find that being properly outfitted makes all the difference in enjoying or just tolerating the outdoors. My boys have an enormous interest in anything natural and are especially enamored with birds. They can already identify more than 40 birds we see on our feeders and in the woods. Just this morning, we had one of “our” deer emerge from the woods with not one but two babies following behind. The natural world is where I feel most at home and am so glad my boys seem to have a similar feeling. There’s nothing I enjoy learning about more than nature so am excited to hear about your project. Oh, I recently devoured the new book, “This Book Was a Tree.” Have you read it yet? Highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Definitely urban, living in a large city in Italy. I know a little about nature and love it, but definitely not knowledgeable! Would love to teach my children more about nature, and understand more myself.
Yes, my family and I would love to learn more about the natural world and would benefit from it. I have some knowledge but always welcome more. My son is not as interested as I am, but when he’s out with me, I see him soaking it in. My significant other loves nature as much as I do and he soaks up some of my knowledge as well. The rhythm of the seasons, plants (wild edibles and medicinals), and your herbalist background interests me the most. We live in a rural area with houses and farmland around — most folks in my area live on approximately 2 – 6 acres. I wonder where you’re headed with this — can’t wait to see!!!
We live in a small town at the foot of the Adirondacks. I guess..rural?
I would love to learn more about the natural world with my kids. We unschool and I’m always looking out for new ideas to suggest to them.
We grow food and take hikes, camp, and watch birds and other animals, but my kids haven’t been, say, taught about the rain cycle or bird migration. I know a bit about nature, but teaching it in an interesting way to my kids is another story.
I’m interested in whatever ya got, Rachel!
Thank you Nahuatl. I thought a lot about this when I began developing the concept. Because there are things that will be temperate-climate specific, and therefore not applicable in arctic or equatorial regions. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
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YES!! I’m definitely interested.
1. We’re suburban.
2. Not really. I’d like to be more knowledgeable, but my hubs, he’s not a nature lover (I married a city boy).
3. Most definitely. I think its going to become more and more important that children (and adults for that matter) be more in tune with our environment. If we don’t care for her, we better get looking for another planet to live on (which will then start the vicious cycle all over again. sad but true)
Urban. My baby is only 12 weeks old, but we take her to our community garden plot and show her where food comes from. I hope that even if we can’t get out and hike the redwoods regularly (or even once a year…) that she knows that she has a place in a bigger system and how other life fits into her life.
Love nature, have absolutely no clue about it though, but love to be in it and looking at it. We live in a suburban/rural village not far from Jerusalem, and there’s so much beauty around us. All the best with your book!
Thank you, is so nice to read that.
A hug and luck on this new project!
I love nature, with it’s beauty and mystery and grace. I’d love for my family, and in particular my 2 1/2yr old daughter to learn as much as she can about it. We live in a suburb of Chicago, more city than town. I wish we were closer to rural life. I used to fantasize about being a farmer.