We all notice the differences in our children. In our family, we have one child who is extremely fair-skinned with freckles and wavy brown hair with tints of red. Our oldest has darker skin the color of caramel with dark curly hair that transitions to blonde around the outermost edges. Our baby has the darkest, piercing eyes and waves of brown hair turning to curls on his little head. One child is quite laid back and easily entertained by others, one often prefers to play alone, and yet another longs for the attention of other humans most of the livelong day. A couple of the kids have fairly quick tempers, but one is also quick to forgive and forget. Another takes awhile to sulk before making up. I treasure each of these little beauties for everything they bring to the table. I appreciate their differences, and I enjoy watching them play off one another. What I value most is that despite their differences, they are all mine, they are all natural explorers with curiosity aplenty. How they explore, though, is a different story…
In observing my kiddos, I have noticed they all explore differently. Part of this may be dependent on age, maybe even gender differences. But, I think most of it can be attributed to them being individuals with different personalities, needs, and objectives. Our oldest son explores with all he has, as he does everything. Every fiber of his being is wrapped up in his quests. He runs, jumps, and climbs with wild abandon (not for the faint of heart). If he needs to move a rock, he doesn’t set it down or even drop it. He throws it, and I mean watch out. If he needs to see something up high or down low, he goes straight to it without a care as to how to get there. His objective is everything, and planning is for someone else to do. He wants to involve everyone in his adventures, whether they want to be or not. It’s almost like it isn’t worth it for him if there isn’t a group to share it with.
Our daughter is much different. She loves to really investigate. She could spend hours doing what our oldest does in two minutes, not because she is slow, but because she enjoys the journey. She could sit in the mulch or the dirt or the rocks for entire mornings. She could whittle away the afternoon picking up the same bug or worm over and over again, noticing something different about it each time. She will explore by herself, even when others are around. She also loves to share her findings with others, namely me. I am a lucky momma.
Our baby, even at six months, has an explorer personality all his own. He, of course, knows no bounds. I feel we are constantly putting parameters on him, but to his credit, he ignores them completely. He methodically explores one thing, then the next. He may be the most observant of all our kids. He will always notice something new in his environment, whether it’s a toy, piece of clothing, box, it doesn’t matter. When he is outside, there is always something new to see or hear, to grab or pull. It’s a wonderland to him. I hope it always will be.
While all my kids share the same home and the same family, they are divergent in so many ways. How can they all share a similar goal and approach it so differently yet effectively? Maybe the reason we spend so much time studying nature is because I enjoy watching them discover and learn with their whole selves. Do your kids approach nature play or nature studies similarly to each other or differently?