Children’s indirect experience involves actual contact with nature but in environments that are planned and highly controlled by human.
In this picture, my daughter is posing in front of a beautiful garden that is planted and managed by human. She can touch and smell the leaves. She can carefully observe features of petals or learn about different kinds of flowers. Her favourite interaction though is to walk on those stones. But all of these experiences are considered ‘indirect’ because ‘nature’ here is under the human’s control (add to this that those flowers and stones are highly modified and structured by our technology too). Her scooter is also decorated with images of colorful flowers (symbolic experience).
If you take your child to zoos, nature centers,and museums, these places are also designed and managed by human. So your child is indirectly experiencing nature. If you have pets and plants at home or take your children to see them in a farm, they are still interacting indirectly with nature, because these living things depends on human’s control for their life.
All of these experiences are important. Your child learns about the sources of our food, the ecosystem, and the lives and needs of farm animals. They hear the mow of the cows, smell the poop of horses, see cats catching birds, and scare away the little chicks. They may also experience that nature is beautiful, colorful, kind, playful and joyful, exciting, and much more …
How much of your experiences with nature as a child was indirect? How much of your child’s experiences is indirect? What are some of your best childhood memories of indirect experiences with nature?There is one more way to experience nature … direct experience … What is it?