Read nature stories to children. We all love stories, and one of the greatest predictors of children’s reading abilities is whether or not their parents read to them daily. Fill their imaginations with fairy tales, dazzling landscapes and magical creatures. Albert Einstein once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Once in awhile, put the books aside and renew the sensuous art of storytelling grounded in local nature. Use your whole body and voice to answer such questions as, Where did those fir trees come from, and why are they so tall? Who are the denizens of the local pond, and how long have they been there? Your local library, natural history museum, or nature center will likely be happy to provide the necessary fodder.
Finally, watch closely and see what kinds of plants and animals most interest your children. Focus some of your tales on those, and do the storytelling outdoors whenever possible. As you’re walking around the neighborhood, encourage kids to imagine a time before buildings and people were there, a time when marvelous creatures like mammoths and saber-tooth cats roamed. And encourage kids to come up with their own stories!