It\’s no secret that our kids need less screen time and more \”scene time.\” Anyone who was born prior to the 1980s knows that being outside and creating adventures with friends was the main form of entertainment back in the day. And what a good one it was! Sandpits became beaches, tire swings became rockets, and even imaginary dragons became part of our everyday play.
Now as adults raising our own kids, nature-based play may seem like a foreign concept to the next generation. But we need to keep trying. Introducing. Encouraging.
How does one ‘do’ ecotherapy? It’s actually quite simple. Find yourself a wooded area, a garden, beach, park, hiking trail, or a bike path through natural areas and expose your youngsters to value of being mindful of their natural environment.
This is not an activity reserved for adults only. Getting into nature, letting our bare feet connect with the healing properties of the earth and soaking in sun vitamins, is especially important for kids. being in nature is cheap/free fun for all ages.
This could mean family hikes, or it can be as simple as encouraging them to ditch their devices and run wild in your backyard. Even working outdoors in a garden has green therapy benefits.
The idea is not to venture into the Great Outdoors distracted by daily worries or worse yet, our smartphones, but to tune each of our senses and let nature seep into every part of us.
Smell the essential oils of the pines in the forest, whiff the scent of the blooms of wildflowers or the earthy scent of the decaying leaves along the trail. Even the buzzing of pollinators can be soothing if you slow down long enough to listen.
Let\’s not forget the beauty of the birds’ songs, the rustle of leaves and branches, and the sounds of your footsteps on the earth. Use your eyes and ears to appreciate and observe all that Mother Nature is offering.
Be aware of the sense of touch as well, even if it’s the chill of the air on your body and your skin. Kick of your shoes and feel the ground between your toes. Is it hard and dry? Soft and squishy? Smoothy or rocky?
Did you know that \”earth grounding\” is a thing? Grounding or earthing is a therapeutic technique that focuses on realigning your electrical energy by reconnecting to the earth.
Visually take in the splendor and color of the vegetation, the texture of the tree bark, the blue of the sky and the white of the clouds above.
A handful of years ago, when myself and fellow author Marilyn Scott-Waters created an innovative and enchanting book inspired by a classic children’s tale, we knew all of these nature facts. That was one of the many driving forces that made us determined to write and publish a book that encourages kids to step away from electronics, initiate creative play, and get familiar with nature-based play.
A Year in The Secret Garden combined our respective talents to not only create a clever solution for those struggling with kids who have grown way too attached to their devices, but also an amazing guidebook to help parents help their children regain their interest and love of nature.
From Day One, we wanted A Year in the Secret Garden to be the catalyst in introducing the beloved children’s classic, The Secret Garden to a new generation of families.
With that in mind, Marilyn and I created a book for kids and adults that uses over two hundred hand-drawn, full-color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages.
If you are serious about getting your offspring or young charges off the couch and into The Great Outdoors (or the kitchen and craft room), readers will find monthly activities and reading based on the Secret Garden characters, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.
Even today our goal is still to not only raise awareness for the necessity of families spending more quality “unplugged” time together but to also share monthly activities that incorporate nature and the outdoors as well.
About A Year In The Secret Garden
With over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for families to enjoy, learn, discover and play together, A Year In the Secret Garden is an opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook, and craft room.
In The Book:
12 Gardening Activities that will get your kids outside digging in the dirt and encouraging their imaginations to sprout and grow. Some of the fun includes:
- Magic Carpets
- Planting Bulbs
- Old Man and the Spade Game
- Bringing in the Evergreen
- Ice Disks
- Garden in a Jar
- Seed Paper
- Seed Packets
- Plant Labels
- Hula Hoop Magic Circles
- Affirmation Stones
12 Secret Garden Recipes based on events and scenes in the book including:
- Curry Chicken
- Ploughman’s Lunch
- Hot Oat Cakes
- Toad in a Hole
- Parkin Cake
- Robin Cakes
- Tin Foil Breakfast
- Ladybug Sandwiches
12 Secret Garden Crafts based on the book:
- Jump Ropes
- Unique Bird Feeders
- Wutherin’ Wind Flags
- Oaten Pipes (flute)
- Nest making
- Dickon’s Felt Creatures