It's Basic and It's Beautiful
Climbing a tree is the classic, most basic way a child can connect to nature. There is just something about being able to lift yourself up from the ground and experience life from an entirely different perspective.
Everyone has a favorite tree -- it doesn't matter what your age. For me, it's the 100+ year old oak tree that stands at the head of our driveway. It is tall and majestic and gives me a sense of security as we drive under its canopy and it welcomes us home from our travels. Bean and Budder like the little dogwood on the front slope because it is solid enough to hold them, yet dainty when it flowers in the spring. Our second favorite is the tall slender oak behind the house. From the kitchen we can watch the antics of squirrels and nuthatches as they climb up and down it.
Finding a Special Tree
A good climbing tree is a treasure. It becomes a "best friend." In it children can listen to the wind, the sounds of birds and insects, a distant lawnmower or other children playing. They experience the different scents and sights of nature. It is a place where they can be alone with their thoughts or have adventures with others. Different seasons provide different experiences, from the bare branches and wide open views of winter, to the thick, green camouflage of summer.
I encourage you to allow your children to climb trees. Sure, we all worry about them falling and the possible broken arm. But, why deprive them of one of your favorite childhood pastimes? Besides, climbing trees is safe if you follow these safety guidelines:
- Only allow them to climb mature trees that can support their weight.
- No climbing on dead branches!
- Make sure they stay close to the trunk of the tree.
- Only allow one to two children to climb at a time, depending on the size and strength of the tree.
- Encourage respect for the tree. In other words, don't break, jump on or yank the branches.
- Limit how high they climb.
Do your children have a favorite tree? If so, I'd like to hear about it!
Over the next few days, we will be enjoying nature in some really fun places. Stayed tuned to find out where.