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Nature nurture

Today’s children want to act to protect nature – and now there’s an easy way to support them
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Two young girls playing in nature

This article first appeared in our Organic September issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 14 September 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Listen to the news and you’d be forgiven for thinking our children our screen-obsessed technophiles who live in the dark and think burgers grow on trees.

We live in an increasingly digital age, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that today’s kids have cut ties with the natural world.

In fact, the recent Children’s People and Nature Survey from Natural England revealed that over 80% of young people are eager to take action to help the environment.

Youth movements – from global school strikes inspired by Fridays For Future to grassroots community litter picks – demonstrate that the younger generations care deeply about the world and their future in it.

The challenge for adults is around harnessing this innate sensitivity and giving children the tools and inspiration to act on it.

A kit for nature

Alice Keverne, founder of Nature Nurture Kids, met this challenge one Christmas when her eldest daughter asked for a kit to help nature. She wanted to make a difference but didn’t know where to start.

Alice, who has always loved making toys for her children, jumped at the opportunity to get creative and was rewarded with a reaction of ‘pure delight’ on Christmas Day.

‘We spent that holiday outside every day’, she recalls, ‘and I realised my true passion: I wanted other children to feel the same enjoyment and empowerment, so I set up Nature Nurture Kids.’

The original kit Alice created for her daughter has evolved into the company’s bestselling Nature Nurture Kit, which is packed full of tools, projects and activities to empower and inspire young eco-warriors to help nature and the Earth.

The kit includes a hand-illustrated nature fact file full of information and projects; the UK’s only sustainable, foldable litter picker made from 100% recycled plastic; a pair of hard-wearing children’s gardening gloves; a pack of biodegradable rubbish bags; a ‘make your own’ organic wildflower seed bomb kit; pots of hedgehog and wild bird food and the popular Nature Nurture Kids Bee Rescue Kit. It’s all organised in a robust, custom-designed kids’ rucksack made from recycled plastic bottles.

The products are sustainable, educational, high quality and hard wearing, for use all year round with minimal adult intervention and maximum fun.

Each item has been thoughtfully designed to encourage and inspire child-led learning, and show children that they are capable of making a difference – with direct results.

Outdoor learning

Nature teaches incredibly powerful lessons – about the world around us and also about ourselves, both physically and mentally.

‘There is so much behind a simple activity like climbing a tree’, Alice explains; ‘children discover how to manoeuvre their bodies and rely on their own problem-solving abilities. They learn to overcome fears, which creates inner confidence. When children are allowed to play freely in nature, they get the chance to explore at their own pace and make their own discoveries.’

This type of learning helps to create confidence and a free-thinking mind. Children learn how to make and trust their own decisions and how best to make themselves happy; for Alice this is crucial when we look at the world in which today’s children are growing up.

‘These days most children are exposed at an early age to the digital world and rely on it for entertainment and escapism’, Alice notes. ‘It is important for parents to recognise the need for balance by making a conscious effort to limit screen time and guide children back to nature.’

Nature can bring huge benefits to the whole family – not just the children. Alice is not alone when she says the child within her is so much more alive when she is outside with her kids.

‘Their natural, playful connection is intoxicating’, she says. ‘I often find myself sitting at the top of a tree with them or dipping my toes in ice-cold water for a giggle. Seeing their enjoyment reminds me how important it is in all our lives.’

Taking responsibility

For Alice, all adults – not just parents – have a duty to lead by example. ‘We can all make small changes like choosing sustainable products, growing our own food, walking when possible and picking up litter’, she explains. ‘If we take the time to educate our children to enjoy, love and respect nature they will feel more encouraged to help it themselves.’

The digital era naturally exposes children to discussions, problems and solutions around the climate crisis, and when stories and messages are shared, children discover they are not alone in wanting to protect the planet.

‘We have tried living in a world driven by overconsumption and clearly that hasn’t worked’, Alice concludes. ‘Evidently we need to evolve away from this way of existence and to make this work we all need to take responsibility. By teaching and empowering children to play their part, we will all help to create a better future.’

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