On a bright and sunny morning in July, PEPS gathered a group of grandparents together at the Environmental Science Center in Burien. We decided to drop in on the Center’s Tidepools for Tots program to learn more about how grandparents can engage their grandchildren in nature.
We learned more about the unique ecosystem of the tidepools and gathered a few tips from the Environmental Science Center:
The first step for engaging children in nature is just to get them outside
Being in nature doesn’t have to mean an all-day trek to a national park – children can see different plants, trees, bugs, and maybe even animals just by walking out the front door.
Spark your grandchild’s curiosity
Did you read a cool fact about hummingbirds? Share it. Have you been noticing the different colors and leaf shapes during the fall? Point it out and ask your young grandchild if they have a favorite.
Children are young scientists.
Talk to them that way.
To teach positive ways to interact with nature or the names of different plants and animals you might see.
Point out patterns or themes in nature
Engage their senses
Being in different natural environments can immerse children in a world of colors, textures, and smells.
For grandparents who help with caretaking for their grandkids while parents are at work or maybe during the summer, there are ample opportunities for making nature a part of your routine together. And many grandparents are able to take on the role of bringing grandkids on new adventures outside the family home, and visiting the local beach, park, or woods this summer can be very memorable for children.
The Environmental Science Center has programs for all ages, including weekly Toddler Time and free discovery activities during July and August.
About the Author
Jessica Brockman is the Development Manager at PEPS. She believes in the importance of building community and is thrilled to be working with the fabulous PEPS team.
Prior to joining PEPS, Jessica led Development activities at the Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California. She is a Social Work student and has a strong interest in applying the principles of social work and community engagement to ethical and sustainable fundraising for nonprofits.