In Vicki L. Stoecklin’s article, Gardening with Children; My summers at Beanstalk Children’s Garden, she writes,
“If children do not have time to explore and fully understand nature, they are at risk of developing what is known as biophobia or an aversion to nature.”
We see this in children that do not grow up playing outdoors with a chance to get dirty. Their first reaction is to fear the natural element, like a bug. Once their fear has passed, they kill it. If we can expose our children to the outdoors when they are young, they will be comfortable with the elements and be able to help preserve them.
One way to get a child comfortable is to teach them about worms, smushy and harmless yet extremely interesting! For a hands on session, you can let the children touch a worm to feel the silkiness of its skin along with the rise of its ridges. To help children desire to preserve these creatures, teach them about all of the benefits that worms bring to nature as Earth’s helpers:
- They consume pests
- They enrich the soil by digesting and re-depositing everything they eat as they travel along,
- And they are natural plows. As worms twist and turn they push aside loose soil there by creating tunnels. Rainwater will trickle down and fill the tunnels allowing roots to drink the water.Look for our next entry for an activity that will allow children to observe worms at work!