Nurturing nature lovers

Fresh air is important, and children who learn to love nature will carry the positive feelings into adulthood.

Everyone has heard about the benefits of children spending time in nature: when kids are outside, without walls, they can run, jump, explore, and act in developmentally appropriate ways. Fresh air is important, and children who learn to love nature will carry the positive feelings into adulthood. But for the average busy family, what does it look like to nurture a nature lover? Never fear! You don’t have to be a botanist or a wildlife biologist, and you don’t have to go far from home. By letting curiosity (yours and your child’s) guide your forays into nature, the simplest walk can turn into an adventure.

As the weather warms up and your family heads outside more often, aim to plan slow, meandering, outings without a goal or final destination in mind. Leave room, time and patience for exploring, sauntering, poking under logs and snacking in the sunshine! Your children will appreciate these unhurried excursions.

Experiment with outings where you bring no toys—watch how your child will find sticks, rocks, leaves and other ‘loose parts’ to play with. A simple bucket and shovel might suffice, even for the beach, and you can enjoy leaving behind armloads of toys! Kuskanook is a great beach not far from town with a huge variety of features to appeal to young children (jumbly logs to climb on, flowing streams to build bridges over).

You can model curiosity and enthusiasm for your child by bending down to check out a snail, a flower, feather or stone. Your child will catch on quickly, seeing your interest in the small things around you. Simple, open-ended questions like these can help you get your child’s enthusiasm flowing:

Oh look! What’s this here? It feels so….it smells so…

I wonder what happened here…

Are there any clues if we look around?

Tell me more about the _____ you found!

The best nature play is unstructured, light-hearted, non-coercive and open-ended. For instance, if you’re taking a break during a walk or sitting at a park, you can initiate a picture or pattern on the ground, made with the sticks, stones, leaves, berries and other things found around you. Your child might enjoy helping you hunt around for things to add to the design.

Here are a few events happening around Creston in the coming weeks that you might enjoy participating in with your family: Gaelen Schnare, 11 year old bird expert, is hosting a kid-friendly bird excursion on Saturday May 12, as part of the Creston Valley Bird Festival. In June, Creston Kids Outside is offering a Ready, Set, Learn nature program in the Canyon-Lister School forest, for 3-5 year olds. Don’t forget about the annual Sturgeon Release on the Kootenay River, April 26 from 11:00-1:00. You can find details about all of these events on our website and Facebook pages: and

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From the Peanuts gallery

PCSS presents What’s It All About, Charlie Brown?

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

The Musical Life of Marlene Nash

Pictured above: Marlene Nash re-enacts one of her winning numbers from the… Continue reading

Town of Creston gets grant to ‘undevelop’ reservoir site

By Lorne Eckersley A last minute grant application earlier in the winter… Continue reading

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read