I often feel helpless when it comes to supporting our planet. Of course I recycle and try to use sustainable products as often as I can, but it never quite feels like enough. I vividly remember taking an English course in college that focused on environmental writing. We read John Muir and confronted our thoughts on how we can really help the planet that we inhabit. I remember one day when a student, exasperated, raised their hand and stated, “so even if we all have one child only, share laundry machines, live on communes, and eliminate all plastic…we still might not have enough impact to save the earth? Then what are we supposed to do?”
How else can we support our planet?
Anyone else feeling overwhelmed just thinking about this? Me, too. I encourage you to consider…outside of recycling and acting in ways that are individually sustainable, how else can we support our planet? Recently, I’ve been hosting baby and toddler music groups out in the Wyomissing Creek Trails. As I watch 1- and 2-year-olds interact with the world around them, I’ve come to realize that every time we help children connect with the earth, we support the earth. Every time that we help a child to respect the grass growing around them, the bugs crawling on the leaves, and the cool breeze blowing on their cheeks, we help create a more sustainable world. If our children can appreciate the earth around them, they will feel more passionate and committed to sustaining the planet and treating it with love and care. However, it’s not just our children who are growing and learning. We have much to gain from observing how our children interact with the environment around them.
Interacting Through the Senses
Have you ever noticed how children interact through their senses? They engage with the physical world by touching, smelling, tasting, feeling, and seeing. They are curious and explore with excitement. As we grow, we often stop engaging with our earth in this way. We become too busy to stop and smell the flowers, and our to-do list takes precedence over playing in the mud and dirt. When is the last time that you took your shoes off and felt the grass beneath your feet? When did you last stop to feel the sunshine shining on your face? We’ve allowed our busy schedules to stop us from appreciating our earth, and when we lose an appreciation for our planet, it’s easier for us to act in ways that do not support its wellbeing. However, observing our children as they interact with the world around them in ways that are filled with wonder and joy can help us to remember how much we love and appreciate the earth. Then, we can live in a way that supports and nourishes our planet.
Connecting to Nature Through Music
Listening and singing songs about nature with children is a great way to cultivate a love for our planet. Check out this playlist to explore songs about bugs, dirt, trees, grass, and our whole planet! Here are some ways you could enjoy this playlist with your little ones:
- Take a nature walk while listening to this playlist
- Listen during a long car ride and ask your kiddo to use their imagination to picture the images they hear in the songs
- Get some pots and pans and play along!
- Go outside, sit in the grass (or even better…put your bare feet in the grass!), and listen to the music while engaging with the earth
- Create artwork based on what you hear in the songs
- Turn the playlist on in the background as your child plays
To listen along, head to: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5tjp7eLLjp1M8mtQ5RXTx2?si=0a48b20855e64c83
Deepen Your Connection to the Planet
May this music serve the purpose of helping to grow a deeper love, appreciation, and connection with our planet. Whether you are 1 year old or 100 years old, it is never too late to continue to deepen your relationship with the earth.