When I asked my kids how they think they connect with God in nature their replies were, “Eat hot peppers! Catch frogs! Go camping!!”
All of these are true in our home, even the hot pepper part, but when I thought about it they’re really getting at the three main ways my kids connect with God in His creation. We plant vegetables and flowers, go for nature walks often, and get outside for long periods of time by camping!
I’m one of those people who gets garden envy. I follow people on Instagram because of their yards and the produce they grow! In our home our produce grows in containers and our flowers are few, but we have them, and that’s what counts!
In Genesis 1:29 it says, “Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.“ Gardening is an excellent chance to show kids where their food comes from. Mine haven’t been to the grocery store in months, but they’ve chewed on basil, mint, and popped tomatoes and even peppers in their mouth from the patio often. We planted some zinnias and cosmos in the dirt from seed and they have been able to see the flowers pop through too! A few of the seeds did find their way into the belly of a squirrel, but the results of what has bloomed have been well worth the minimal financial and time expense to plant something from seed.
In the Fall everything will die and we’ll tear out the plants. In that my kids will learn about seasons and that it’s ok for things to go away to give time and space for new life to begin.
Another habit we try to keep up with is taking walks and pointing out nature. You don’t have to go far to find a tree, patch of grass or a small wooded area to get a kid’s mind working. Don’t let your surroundings overwhelm you! Some of my favorite books to aid in their discovery of connecting God with all that they see in nature is the Let there be Light book and Who Sang the First Song. You’ll want to listen to the song for that last one or buy the whole album and try not to sing it while you’re on your own walk outside! The images in each book are beautifully captivating for young readers.
When we’re up for carving out more time camping has become a favorite for us all. It’s true that kids don’t need much when they’re in nature and I bet you’ll find their attitudes, and yours, improve away from the distraction of screens!
Psalm 95:3-5 reads, “For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”
Whether we camp near water or up in the mountains, we can seek and find Him. We can talk about the many different trees he created, and oh my the bugs! Having this set of nature tools has come in extremely handy and I love that they all get stored in a backpack for easy carrying, by them! Tools aren’t necessary though! Giving your kids time to explore is one of the biggest factors I’ve found to really help ignite their connection with creation.