We believe taking children hiking is a wonderful way to ignite a sense of wonder in the natural world. Without a deep connection with the earth, it is difficult to motivate children (and anyone) to care for our earth. And how can we love nature if we have never experienced it?
“I have always seen the mountain from my back yard and always wished I could climb it one day. Today was my first time walking on Table Mountain and it was a dream come true.” – Annelisiwe, Grade 6
For the past seven years, we have been hiking with children who live in township communities and seldom leave these harsh environments. Most have never been in a forest, climbed a mountain or walked along the ocean.
The hikes include education about fauna, flora and environmental issues, however, our main intention is to inspire them to connect with themselves and nature. It can be difficult to slow down and become still and present. Our Earthchild facilitators encourage this by including guided meditations, silent walks and other simple activities.
The school holidays are an ideal time for you to spend time outdoors with your own children – for your to connect with your children and nature. Take a look at the Earthchild Project activity below…
The Animal Senses Silent Walk:
This activity can be done anywhere including your neighborhood, a park or a place with an abundance of nature. Explain to your children that for a few minutes you are going to walk slowly and quietly using special animal senses: your ‘owl eyes’, ‘kudu ears’, ‘baboon touch’ and ‘dog smell’.
Talk about each animal, how you can be like them by really paying attention to the sensory details around you and why this helps you understand your environment in a deep and sensitive way.
Afterwards come together and talk through what you each saw, heard, felt or smelt. Discuss how these discovered made you feel and understand your environment.