Kids learn the best through sensory experiences. Maybe we all do. Seeing is one thing, but smelling, tasting, hearing, and touching bring epiphanies An epiphany is "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, commonplace occurrence or experience".
There is a little boy, age 7, next door who has started hanging out with me when I am outside working. Our friendship only started recently and has evolved quickly through shared sensory experiences in the garden. I point out many things I want him to know about. Things I delight in. The trees that erupted in green in only a week, the buds that exploded overnite into pure white blossoms, the little apples that are forming since the apple blossoms have dropped off. We listen to the birds and learn their names. We smell the lilacs and the lilies of the valley. We break up rich smelling dirt with our hands and pull the weeds. We talk about the roots and what they do. We taste the chives and an uncooked rhubarb stalk.
We plant sunflower seeds and watch them grow. We even transfer the growing plants to HIS yard, and label them with a rock.
My new friend helped me plant annuals and water. He used a small watering can. I asked that he sprinkle one whole watering can on each plant. That kept him busy and the plants happily drank it down.
Last night, when we finished our work, he wanted to stay around.
"Laurie, will you read me a story?"
How could I resist? "Of course," I said, as we sat down in the shade of my front porch and got lost in a book.
I did many of these same things with my children when they were growing up but I wanted things done more quickly than what they could do. Evidently, I was busier and not stopping to smell the roses. One thing for sure, if you are going to enjoy nature, it takes at least twice as long to get the work done. It is well worth it. Not to mention the social part of it when you do it with others.