From a young age, we are taught to practice gratitude during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. We are often encouraged to be thankful for our family and friends, good health, home, and money to pay for our necessities and comforts. But what about expressing gratitude to the natural world? The rain helps plants grow and the busy bees pollinate flowers. Teaching children to recognize these tiny miracles and appreciate them could help raise a generation of children eager to protect Mother Nature. Read on to see a simple and beautiful way for children to practice this abstract and difficult to express emotion.
During your next nature walk, look for the simple pleasures in the day, such as the warm sun or the birds singing and express appreciation for them. Model how to send positive thoughts to these wonders of nature. For example if you are watching a bee, you could say, “Wow! Look at that amazing bee. It’s carrying pollen from plant to plant and helping many new plants grow.” Modeling this language gives children the ability and confidence to express their own appreciation and gratitude for nature.
Pick a dandelion puff every time you point out something amazing in nature and encourage your child to do the same. Gently weave the dandelions through the rubber bands as you express your gratitude during your nature walk. We lost a couple of seeds along the way, but most of them stayed intact.
We ended the activity by spreading dandelion seeds by either blowing on the white fluff or waving the wand in the air. My youngest was mesmerized by watching the seeds as he blew and my oldest loved running around our yard, waving and shaking the wand in the air. We talked about how spreading the seeds will help grow more dandelions, which is our way of sending a big thank you and showing our gratitude to nature!
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Making the Dandelion Wand
Decorate your wishing wand. You can paint it, wrap it with yarn, or just keep it natural. We decided to add a little sparkle with these sticker gems. They look really pretty and peeling and sticking the gems was great fine motor practice for my boys.
Wrap the rubber bands around the stick. We chose to keep the rubber bands towards the top of the wand so the plants would be on the wand in one area. This makes it easier to carry the wand.
My boys picked a couple of flowers from our yard to practice weaving before we started the activity.
My boys ended up picking more dandelions and repeating the process several times! This will definitely become a new springtime tradition.
I hope you give this meaningful activity a try! I promise, your little nature lovers will love it as much as my boys.