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


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.


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, 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 called Dark Origins: Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Stories.

Find Robbie Cheadle



Twitter: BakeandWrite


Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


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