Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they encourage their children to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Rowan (and buddy Gavin)
at the Pumpkin Patch

My son Rowan, although only 15 months at the time of this writing, is learning daily about our planet and its cycles and wonders. Not only do I think it is a responsible thing to do for any child (this IS home after all- and we only get one planet!), but for our family it is a matter of theology.

In our religion, humans are but one part of a vast creation of equals. Every piece of creation is imbued not only with "a spark" of God Herself, but a consciousness and energy that adds to a larger whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Every rock, every tree, every animal (human or not) is but a piece of God Herself as well as its own being.

Hello, grass. My name is Rowan.
Thoelogically, we are teaching him how to affect not only the here and now, but across all realms of creation. This takes a different sort of worldview. It requires careful cultivation.

Petting a goat- squeeee!

Deep theological stuff. How does one transmit that to a toddler? For now, when we are out and about and Rowan sees a flower or plant he likes, we teach him to be gentle- to ask before taking (and to learn to listen whether the answer is yes or no). He collects items that draw his attention and he places them on a seasonal altar. (He loves rocks and seed pods especially.) I am happy to say that he absolutely loves animals, and we are teaching him to to love, be gentle with, and respect all creatures. It is a delight when he meets a new creature and his first impulse (other than to squeal excitedly and hope to move in closer) is to kiss that animal.

Stinson Beach.
We teach him about the elements and how they add to all of creation. As he is becoming more aware of the world around him, we have been introducing him to the elements. The first two, earth and water, were the easiest with a baby. Now that he is an exploratory toddler, I will be working on ideas with air and fire. Just the other day, he giggled and squealed at the wind blowing his hair around and sucking his breath. We told him that was the wind- and it seems like it is time for more learning about that. It is time for a formal introduction to the next two elements, I think, as he will understand the concept. Appropriate timing- as we head to a gathering with a central fire pit!

Lake Temescal.
We are blessed to live in such a gorgeous part of the world. We take Rowan to the ocean, to the forest, to the lake. When it is time for us to head to Wolf Creek for Beltaine- he comes too. That land has been set apart as sacred for decades and is special. He has already bonded there with Grandmother Maple and been shown the place where he was conceived. We will continue to go there and strengthen his connection to that special place.

Grandma Maple, Wolf Creek, OR
We try and integrate these lessons into his every day- so that they are reinforced as a way of life, rather than a special lesson, set apart. I look forward to moving in the fall into a place with a place for gardening- as this will help us teach Rowan about the cycle of plants. Having a garden, particularly one with chickens and bees, can also make a daily reminder of how the natural world works and how we can care for it or destroy it. How do you teach your kid(s) about the natural world?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Get Out!Momma Jorje gives reasons she doesn't think she gets outside enough and asks for your suggestions on making time for the outdoors.
  • How Does Your Garden Grow?The ArtsyMama shares her love of nature photography.
  • We Go Outside — Amy at Peace 4 Parents describes her family's simple, experiential approach to encouraging appreciation of nature.
  • My Not-So-Green Thumb — Wolfmother confesses to her lack of gardening skills but expresses hope in learning alongside her son at Fabulous Mama Chronicles.
  • Enjoying Outdoors — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine describes how her children enjoy the nature.
  • Five Ideas to Encourage the Reluctant Junior Gardener — For the rare little ones who don't like to get their hands dirty, Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers tips for encouraging an early love of dirt (despite the mess).
  • Connecting to NatureMamapoekie shares how growing your own vegetable patch connects your child to nature and urges them to not take anything for granted.
  • The Farmer's Market Classroom — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how the Farmer's Market has become her son's classroom.
  • Seeds — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment's hubby Ken shares his perspective on why gardening with their kiddos is so important . . . and enjoyable!
  • Toddlers in the Garden — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares her excitement as she continues to introduce her toddler and new baby to the joys of fresh veggies, straight from the garden.
  • Nature's Weave — MJ at Wander Wonder Discover explains how nature weaves its way into our lives naturally, magnetically, experientially, and spiritually.
  • Becoming Green — Kristina at Hey Red celebrates and nurtures her daughter's blossoming love of the outdoors.
  • Little Gardener — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis looks forward to introducing her baby girl to gardening and exploring home grown foods for the first time.
  • Cultivating Abundance — You can never be poor if you have a garden! Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on what she cultivates in her garden . . . and finds it's a lot more than seeds!
  • Growing in the Outdoors: Plants and People — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reflects on how she is growing while teaching her daughter to appreciate nature, the origins of food, and the many benefits of eating home-grown.
  • How Not to Grow — Anna at Wild Parenting discusses why growing vegetables fills her with fear.
  • Growing in the Outdoors — Lily at Witch Mom Blog talks about how connecting to the natural world is a matter of theology for her family and the ways that they do it.
  • A Garden Made of Straw — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares tips on making a straw bale garden.
  • The Tradition of Gardening — Carrie at Love Notes Mama reflects on the gifts that come with the tradition of gardening.
  • Gardening Smells Like Home — Bethy at Bounce Me to the Moon hopes that her son will associate home grown food and lovely flowers with home.
  • The New Normal — Patti at Jazzy Mama writes about how she hopes that growing vegetables in a big city will become totally normal for her children's generation.
  • Outside, With You — Amy at Anktangle writes a letter to her son, a snapshot of a moment in the garden together.
  • Farmer Boy — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares how her son Joshua helps to grow and raise their family's food.
  • Growing Kids in the Garden — Lisa at Granola Catholic shares easy ways to get your kids involved in the garden.
  • Growing Food Without a Garden — Don't have a garden? "You can still grow food!" says Mrs Green of Little Green Blog. Whatever the size of your plot, she shows you how.
  • Growing Things — Liz at Garden Variety Mama shares her reasons for gardening with her kids, even though she has no idea what she's doing.
  • MomentsUK Mummy Blogger explains how the great outdoors provides a backdrop for her family to reconnect.
  • Condo Kid Turns Composter and Plastic Police — Jessica from Cloth Diapering Mama has discovered that her young son is a true earth lover despite living in a condo with no land to call their own.
  • Gardening with Baby — Sheila at A Gift Universe shows us how her garden and her son are growing.
  • Why to Choose Your Local Farmer's MarketNaturally Nena shares why she believes it's important to teach our children the value of local farmers.
  • Unfolding into Nature — At Crunchy-Chewy Mama, Jessica Claire shares her desire to cultivate a reverence for nature through gardening, buying local food, and just looking out the window.
  • Urban Gardening With Kids — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares her strategies for city gardening with little helpers — without a yard but with a whole lot of enthusiasm.
  • Mama Doesn't Garden — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life is glad her husband is there to instill the joys of gardening in their children, while all she has to do is sit back and eat homegrown tomato sandwiches.
  • Why We Make this Organic Garden Grow — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her reasons for gardening with her three small children.
  • 5 Ways to Help Your Baby Develop a Love of the Natural World — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama believes it's never too early to foster a love of the natural world in your little one.
  • April Showers Bring May PRODUCE — Erika at NaMammaSte discusses her plans for raising a little gardener.
  • Growing Outside — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers how to get her kids outside after weeks of spring rain.
  • Eating Healthier — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she learns to eat healthier and encourages her children to do the same.
  • The Beauty of Earth and Heavens — Inspired by Charlotte Mason, Erica at ChildOrganics discovers nature in her own front yard.
  • Seeing the Garden Through the Weeds — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro talks about the challenges of gardening with two small children.
  • Creating a Living Playhouse: Our Bean Teepee! — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares how her family creates a living playhouse "bean teepee" and includes tips of how to involve kids in gardening projects.
  • Grooming a Tree-Hugger: Introducing the Outdoors — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her planned strategies for making this spring and summer memorable and productive for her pre-toddler in the Outdoors.
  • Sowing Seeds of Life and Love — Suzannah at ShoutLaughLove celebrates the simple joys of baby chicks, community gardening, and a semi-charmed country life.
  • Experiencing Nature and Growing Plants Outdoors Without a Garden — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares some of her favorite ways her family discovered to fully experience nature wherever they lived.
  • Garden Day — Melissa at The New Mommy Files is thankful to be part of community of families, some of whom can even garden!
  • Teaching Garden Ettiquette to the Locusts — Tashmica from Mother Flippin' (guest posting at Natural Parents Network) allows her children to ravage her garden every year in the hopes of teaching them a greater lesson about how to treat the world.
  • Why I Play with Worms. — Megan of Megadoula, Megamom and Megatired shares why growing a garden and raising her children go hand in hand.


  1. This is lovely. I love the idea of making appreciation for nature not just a once-in-a-while thing, but a way of life every day. We try to do that with our kiddos, too. Our guys are super into the elements, but we're working with them on being less nervous around animals. I guess that's what we get for pet-free apartment living....

  2. GREAT post! I really liked how you explained the theological connection and the obvious sensitivity that Rowan has for his planet/creation.

    What a wonderful, enlightened spirit your little guy seems to have?!

    I also think its amazing that you're sharing so much with him, as far as his conception, etc...he will have no doubt that he was created from love!


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