The Great Outdoors: Connecting Childhood Creativity with Nature

by Matthew Worwood

The great outdoors served as humanity’s first classroom. That’s why connecting childhood creativity with nature is a great starting point for any parent wanting to promote creativity at home. Consider the many innovations and discoveries made by our ancestors as they interacted with nature.

connecting childhood creativity with nature is a great starting point for any parent wanting to promote creativity at home

This article represents the beginning of a series of posts about our family interactions with the Great Outdoors. I’m prioritizing this connection for three reasons; first – I have long been a proponent of nature walks to promote curiosity in young children. Similarly, one of my favorite activities shared on this website is our experience finding a bunch of caterpillars one summer afternoon and watching them transition into beautiful butterflies the following spring.

Also Read: Five Tips for Raising Wild Butterflies

The second reason – my boys are at the point where they can’t stay indoors. They are jumping off furniture, arguing with each other, and driving us crazy. Camping and fishing trips have offered an opportunity to disrupt this pattern and force a disconnect with electronics. However, as I take up these activities, I have made many mistakes that have led to discoveries that I hope can serve others in the future.

Our experience with caterpillars has created a sustained interest in butterfly gardens and plans that attract butterflies during the summer.

Finally, like so many other adults, I suffer from anxiety – serve at times. In public, I can function, but sometimes I am burning on all cylinders to keep my mental health in check. After a crazy 2020 (Covid excluded), it all became too much to handle, and the one activity I felt got me through this challenging time was my weekly walks through nature. I plan to share more of this story in the coming series.

In conclusion, connecting childhood creativity with nature can ignite curiosity, help generate questions about our world, and address what Richard Louv calls Nature Deficit Disorder. Furthermore, as some research suggests, interacting with nature can quieten the mind and make us more receptive to new ideas and discoveries in our personal and professional lives.

The Great Out Doors – coming soon!

  • Five tips for first-time camping with the family
  • How to teach young children to fish
  • Three Nature Walk Activities to Promote Creativity
  • Setting up an outdoor classroom at home
  • Next level family camping
Matthew Worwood
Matthew Worwood is an educator, Creative Studies scholar-practitioner, and co-host of the Fueling Creativity in Education podcast. He is a professor of Digital Media Design at the University of Connecticut and a husband and proud father to three young boys.

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