Child smelling a flower

Connecting With Your Nature Smart Child

(This is the seventh post in the series called I Don’t Understand You! – Learning How to Connect with Your Child When They Think Differently than YouIf you haven’t read the first post already, you’ll want to start there.)

I Don't Understand You

If you have more than one child you probably already know that your kids all think differently from each other.  Just when you think you have one child figured out, along comes another one and you have to figure out how to parent all over again.  Sometimes, when trying to connect with a child who thinks differently than their siblings do, you can get very frustrated.  It can feel like you’re wandering around in the dark when trying to figure them out.

My boys are like polar opposites in many areas.  Because of this, I was relieved after I read the book  How Am I Smart? by Kathy Koch.  Finally, they made more sense. Kathy simplifies the process of connecting with our kids by putting the ways that people think into different categories.  This post will deal with kids who Kathy refers to as ‘nature smart’.

According to Kathy, nature smart kids think in patterns. They pay close attention to the similarities and differences around them. Kids who are nature smart are often picture smart as well since both of these types of intelligence take in information with the eyes.

Nature smart kids are usually characterized by several of the following:

  • Interested in animals, outdoors, and gardening
  • Often care about the environment
  • Enjoy watching the weather
  • Are tuned in to their surroundings
  • Enjoy many of the sciences – especially biology and earth sciences
  • Notice shapes, sizes, colors, designs, and textures
  • Usually enjoy collecting things such as rocks or shells

If your child has several of the above characteristics then they are probably nature smart. These kids love to spend lots of time outside. They love nature so much that they can be tempted to worship the created instead of the Creator.

Here are some practical ways for connecting with your nature smart child:

  • Get some fresh air – Spend lots of time with them outside.  Let them explore to their heart’s desire.  These kids may want to dig in the dirt, play in the mud, splash Connecting with your Nature Smart Childin a pond, and jump in a pile of leaves.
  • Learning about animals – Go to parks, zoos, and aquariums with them.  Take the time to study animals and habitats while going on family bike rides.
  • Go camping – This isn’t my favorite way to vacation; but, if you have a nature smart child, they will love you for doing this!
  • Pets – These kids love animals. Letting these kids have a pet or two is very rewarding for them.
  • Reaching them spiritually – For these kids, it’s important to emphasize God as creator. Thinking about this aspect of God can be a driving force in their faith.

After reading Kathy’s book, I discovered that I have some nature smart in me. When I was growing up, I was always a tomboy.  My brother and I played Cowboys and Pirates daily.  We went into the woods and built forts.  I climbed trees so that I could read a book while up in their branches. I loved to lay on the grass and watch the clouds sail overhead.

Even as an adult, I find that I crave outdoor time – daily, if possible.  I love to take a lawn chair outside and read a book… or sit in the shade and just breathe the fresh air.  When I’m cooped up in the house for too long I get extremely antsy.  I even try to take walks on the coldest winter days just to get some fresh air.

Knowing how strongly I feel about being outside, I could never understand why some days I had to just about push my boys outdoors.  Because of my deep desire to be out in nature, I thought that everyone else should feel the same way – especially boys!  After reading Kathy’s book, however, I now know that my sons must not be quite as nature smart as their mom.  I know that being outside is healthy for everyone so I still push outside time for them – but now I’m more apt to encourage them to go outside than to frustratedly force them out as I may have in the past.  🙂

Here are some great methods for teaching these kids:

  • Teach them physical science subjects related to nature.  Let them experience nature.  Go outside with them and look at the stars, take a trip to the ocean, hike through a cave, make a sand castle, etc.
  • Let them study outside.  This will help many nature smart kids – although it will be distracting to some of them so you’ll have to experiment.
  • Watch nature DVDs with these kids.
  • Read plenty of books about nature with lots of beautiful photos.
  • Let your child make a collection of leaves, shells, nuts, insects, or whatever other object that interests them.
  • Get a butterfly pavilion and allow them to watch a caterpillar become a butterfly.
  • Do a nature scavenger hunt.
  • Go geocaching.
  • Buy them a camera and teach them how to take beautiful scenic and nature photographs.

Nature smart kids end up being great scientists, veterinarians, florists, forest rangers, camp directors, gardeners, photographers, and landscape architects.

For more tips for helping you to understand your Nature Smart Child, please check out Kathy Koch’s book, ” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>How Am I Smart?

Question:  Do you have a Nature Smart Child? Have you found any other clever ways to connect with your child? What has your experience been like when dealing with a child who thinks differently than you? Please leave a comment below.

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