Growing Bookworms – Teaching children about nature and conservation

Teaching our children about the natural environment and conservation is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. There are a few good ways of making sharing about nature and conservation with children, as follows:

  1. Reading books about nature with your child;
  2. Exploring nature with your child;
  3. Art and play; and
  4. Watching documentaries

Reading

There are a number of wonderful children’s books that subtly teach children about the wonders of nature. One is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett when Dicken shows Mary how to care for the locked garden and plant new flowers. Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson is another. Set along the Amazon River in Brazil, this book has a strong theme about the importance of nature to the human spirit. A few other wonderful children’s books about animals are White Fang by Jack London, The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford, Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White, Jock of the Bushveld by Sir James Percy FitzPatrick, and The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.

This is the song, The Bare Necessities, from Disney’s The Jungle Book, when Baloo, the Sloth Bear, meets Mowgli, the human boy.

There are also some excellent non-fiction books that explain a lot about nature. One of my favourites is Nature Cross-Sections by Richard Orr which includes wonderful picture spreads of cross-sections of, amongst others, a beehive, a tide pool, a termite mound, and a beaver lodge.

This is a cross-section of a beehive from Richard Orr’s Nature Cross-Sections. I referred to this picture when I wrote a piece of my book, Through the Nethergate, about a queen bee and the workings of a beehive.

The Disney Mickey Wonders Why series is also terrific for young children. Laid out as a series of questions such as Why is the sky blue? and Why is the grass green? these books include comprehensive, yet simple, answers and lovely illustrations. You can find the Micky Wonders Why series on Amazon as a set of books or as single books.

Do you have any wonderful books for children about nature that you can recommend?

Exploring nature

There are numerous ways to explore nature and its bounty with your child from nature walks to visiting places of interest like aquariums, bunny parks, and game reserves.

Cooking or baking with your child is also a wonderful way of teaching your child about natures bounty and the products the animal kingdom contributes to our lives including eggs and fresh milk. I was surprised to discover that some city children don’t know that milk and other dairy products generally come from cows.

Art and play

When my sons were younger, we used to play games that included animals. We built a game reserve in the sand pit and set out all the toy animals. We learned about the natural habitat of different animals and that some animals live in rocky terrain, some in savannah areas and some in the forest. We created the right habitat using pot plants and garden rocks and put the correct animals in the correct areas. We also played a water game with a large plastic shell full of water, rocks and a few plants. The water animals lived in the pond. Small children love playing in sand and water and it has many benefits for them. It was amazing how the boys and their friends learned to work together with these games.

I also did a lot of art with my children. We made a swamp from an old cardboard box, paper and paint and learned about the animals that live in a swamp including, of course, Shrek and Fiona. We made centipedes from parts of egg boxes and pipe cleaners and built a volcano from paper mache. When it comes to art, the options are limitless for learning and lots of tactile fun.

Watching documentaries

There are numerous amazing documentaries available that parents can watch with their children. It is always fun to discuss the details of these shows with children afterwards and explore and develop their thoughts and impressions from the information and visuals provided.

Conservation

It is not enough just to talk about conservation, you have to lead by example and demonstrate through your own choices and actions the importance of helping the planet and all its creatures and forms of life to thrive. I will expand on conservation and leading by example in a future post.

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with thirteen children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have recently introduced the first book in the Sir Chocolate holidays and high days book series. Sir Chocolate and the Missing Christmas harp is available on Kindle Unlimited and as an ebook and paperback from Amazon. This series is illustrated with Robbie Cheadle’s gorgeous cake and fondant artwork and includes themed activities and recipes for adults to make with children.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9. Count Sugular and his family hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is also beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines as well as one micro read with a Christmas theme.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com/, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to embrace learning, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com/ called Dark Origins: Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Stories.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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45 Comments on “Growing Bookworms – Teaching children about nature and conservation”

  1. Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:

    My first Growing Bookworms post of 2023 discusses teaching children about nature and conservation. Thanks for hosting, Kaye Lynne Booth.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Such an important topic, Robbie! 💕🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Jan Sikes says:

    An excellent roadmap to fostering fun learning through reading for children, Robbie! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. memadtwo says:

    My girls loved “The Secret Garden “. I also remember that The Magic School Bus series had quite a few books about nature. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great suggestions, Robbie. My Mom must have played ‘Bare Necessities’ a lot because I can still sing it!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for hosting Kaye Lynne and excellent suggestions Robbie.. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Annika Perry says:

    A terrific post, Robbie with lots of engaging examples to encourage an interest in nature and conservation. Some of the books you mention are my all-time favourite. The Secret Garden is fantastic and I also read White Fang many times. The Jungle Book is a family favourite too. You are wonderfully creative with all the projects with your children and it is great how you brought modern fiction film into the real world!

    Liked by 3 people

    • HI Annika, I am open to learning of all kinds. Many of the computer games involve reading and problem solving and have a lot of value for young learners provided they are balanced about it. The Secret Garden is one of my favourites too and I always loved the Disney The Jungle book although Alice in Wonderland is my all time favourite.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Dave Astor says:

    A wonderful post, Robbie! And a number of the books you mentioned — such as “White Fang” and “The Incredible Journey” — are of course great reads for adults as well. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Darlene says:

    All terrific ideas, Robbie. Teaching children to recycle and not waste is a good start in life. If they see their parents doing it, it sticks with them.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Teri Polen says:

    When my boys were younger we loved reading books about nature and animals. Playing outside, weather permitting, was a daily event. We’ve always recycled, and both of them continue to do that on their own now. Wonderful post, Robbie!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is such and important topic to present to children Robbie. Wow, it astonishes me that you have produced 13! Congratulations! It really is impressive with all you do! 💞

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Toni Pike says:

    What fantastic advice and suggestions, Robbie. Hugs again, Toni x

    Liked by 3 people

  13. The books about nature I remember being entranced by when I was a kid were these small, oblong books (for child-sized hands to hold easily) that featured photos and characteristics of butterflies and birds for identification purposes.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Love and respect for nature are as important as love and respect for ourselves. I believe that children genuinely enjoy feeling that they are doing something good for the environment.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. HI Annette, you do get some very destructive children. I am not sure if it is in their nature or something they have been taught. On the whole though, I have always found children to ensure learning about nature and experiencing it through walks, and other methods.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Norah says:

    This is wonderful, Robbie. It so important for children (and all of us) to appreciate nature. The best way to encourage it is to get outside, but books are a wonderful treasure too. There are many amazing picture books that encourage an interest in nature and caring for the environment too. Great article.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Jim Borden says:

    what a wonderful way to get children interested in the environment!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. acflory says:

    Great post, Robbie. Here in Australia, quite a few schools have edible gardens that the children are taught to tend. The produce from the gardens is often cooked up in the school kitchen so the kids can taste how wonderful freshly picked vegetables can be.
    I grew up eating stone fruit straight from the trees because my Dad was an avid gardener, but these days kids only get to eat fruit that’s been picked almost green so it’ll transport better and have a longer shelf life. It may look big and beautiful but half the time it has no flavour. Ditto tomatoes and strawberries. 😦
    I wish we could make edible gardens a compulsory part of every school, especially at primary level.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. olganm says:

    Some great suggestions, to teach children and get them interested in nature and conservation, Robbie. Very useful. Thanks for sharing those and enjoy the rest of the week.

    Liked by 2 people


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