by Shawi Cortez
The pandemic has forced us to be stuck at home. This should not stop us from connecting with nature. Here are ways you can bring nature indoors. Tips from Shawi Cortez, founder of Forest School.
Forest School helps parents raise confident, independent, creative, and resilient children so that they can live a life of their own.
Due to pandemic, most of us turned into plantitas. Not only do plants aid with breathing and purifying the air, gardening with your kids provide an opportunity for learning too. It attracts bugs--science lesson. Kids come into contact with soil, which helps boost their immune system. It also teaches them to care for plants by watering them.
Get a pet
Nothing teaches compassion more than caring for another living organism other than you. It teaches kids a sense of responsibility. It also trains them to be protectors of animals growing into their adult years.
Invite nature sounds by listening to the birds. Even in urban settings, birds calling or singing can still be heard. You can also put a seashell over your ear to hear the ocean waves. Bring the sound of water in by setting up a mini fountain or waterfall on your desk.
Buying oranges? Have your kids inhale it before eating. Peel it slowly and let the fragrance waft through the air. You can also buy sampaguita or any fragrant flowers available in the market. Try growing herbs--rosemary is known to improve memory. Of course, you can always have access to essential oils.
Go barefoot. Even if you live in a condominium, find a patch of grass where you can take your shoes off. Sunbathe--spread a mat or a towel and feel the heat for a few minutes. Add water. No swimming pool? Don’t be limited by it. Take out your batsa or timba! Water is fun for kids, no matter the amount.
Look out the window and be mesmerized by the sunrise or the sunset. You can also get creative by having kids imagine what they see in cloud formations. In the evenings, take out your mat again and go stargazing. If there are trees around you, you may be lucky to sight some birds.
Never underestimate a sidewalk or empty lot. As long as there are trees or plants, you can just stop and observe them. You’ll see creatures (insects/bugs), you’ll see fallen flowers and leaves. These can be turned into art materials or crafts you can use when you get home.
When it rains
When was the last time you showered in the rain? Not ready for it yet? Be mesmerized by the raindrops on your window. How about catching some rainwater? After it rains, it’s still full of opportunities. Jump or play in puddles. Look out for rainbows.
Sharon Cortez is a certified Level 3 forest school leader and is based in Tagaytay.
Because face-to-face sessions were suspended during the pandemic, she forest schooled her nephew and niece on their farm in Ilocos. It was also this time that she pivoted into offering a virtual group coaching program for parents and educators to forest school their kids, called "Braving the Outdoors".
She now runs forest school sessions in private properties in Tagaytay, Indang, and Silang, Cavite.
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