When I ask my three and five year-old children to choose a book, inevitably it’ll be something related to nature or wildlife. Whether it’s a fact book about bugs or the story of the Gruffalo, the subject of their interest is clear; animals, nature and adventure – this is the world of the mini explorer.
For children, the colourful and curious outdoors is an enticing place; the vast number of creatures and constant change of seasons sparks interest and promotes questions. I’ve often thought that a child playing in nature is a wonderful way to engage their imagination – it builds a kind of confidence like no other. In Luxembourg, we are lucky enough to live so close to Mullerthal - our very own ‘little Switzerland’ – every step down a trail practically guarantees them an exciting adventure.
On many an occasion I have observed my son, book-in-hand, trotting off outside like a little wildlife detective, headed to explore the undergrowth in search of something he’s seen in a book. What better way to learn than having those beguiling creatures on the page come to life, perhaps in your very own back garden?
There is an interesting hypothesis called ‘biophilia’ – it theorises that humans have a built-in urge to seek out connections to the natural world. We see it all the time; children pursuing nurturing relationships between themselves and animals, simultaneously strengthening their understanding of responsibility in the process.
The same kind of understanding comes from the experience of gardening – children learn the skills of cultivating and maintaining plants, finding out how and why they grow, all the while discovering the duties we humans have towards the world we live in. With the added loose structure of outdoor free play, it gives them reams of sensory experience that they perhaps wouldn’t find indoors.
Having said that, on those rainy days, the captivating pages of a book can offer a child the next best thing - creative opportunity to imagine the encounters they will have on their next mini adventure. With Spring now fast approaching, we at Little English Bookworm have compiled a beautiful and engaging little selection of nature and wildlife books – perfect to keep those inquisitive little minds active and excited about what they will discover next in the natural world.
Here is a list of our favourite nature titles right now:
The Butterfly House, Katy Flint - Available from April 2019
A Little Guide to Trees, Charlotte Voake - Currently available
Bird's Eye View: The Natural World - Available from July 2019
Sensational Butterflies, Ben Rothery - New and currently available
Natural Wonders of the World, Molly Oldfield - New and currently available
Forest Club: A Year of Activities, Crafts and Exploring Nature - Available from April 2019