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Get Dirty: Loving Nature Through the Senses


Get Dirty: Loving Nature Through the Senses

Debra Jacobs

To develop a love of nature - a prerequisite for making good decisions about the environment and wanting to preserve it - children must experience nature. This means more than watching nature shows and taking walks in the woods (although those help, too)!

Let your child feel the natural world by playing in the dirt. Digging, touching dirt, sitting in it, getting it on her skin all help to develop a comfort level with “being earthy.”

Besides sparking an incipient love of the natural world, playing in the dirt provides physical benefits to children, including boosting their immune systems and reducing their chance of developing allergies.*

Today, encourage your child to get dirty. Find a patch in your backyard where your child can dig. For added fun, provide a trickle of water with a hose or in containers, and let your kid go at it. 

Don’t let your child wear clothes you’re worried will get dirty. Put him in something old, soiled, or ripped, allowing for a focus on play instead of on clothes.  Plan on a bath afterwards!

If you don’t have a backyard, use a large plastic bin with some potting soil. Set it on your deck or by the front stoop, or - if no other options exist - spread newspaper and put it on the floor indoors.

The dirtier the better!