Enjoy God’s creation not just on Earth Day (April 22, 2009) but every day. Celebrate God’s good gifts to us in the natural world with your whole family, from youngest to oldest. Here are a few practical “how- to” suggestions: 

1. It starts with you - Appreciation of God’s creation can be caught as well as taught. Your children will notice your curiosity in the natural world.

  • Call birds, plants and animals in your region, town and neighborhood by name.
  • When traveling find out about the nature you will see along the way.
  • Research the flora and fauna of areas where missionary friends live.
  • Expose your children to nature photographs in books and newspapers.   

2. Begin in your own backyard. - You don’t need to go far to see the amazing works of God’s creation. Take the time to stop, look and listen.

  • Encourage your children to lift up rocks and see what’s underneath.
  • Buy a magnifying glass and binoculars and teach your children how to use them. Keep both out and easy to find.
  • Put up a bird feeder or leave a tree snag standing to provide bird habitat.
  • Grow plants which attract butterflies and ladybugs to your yard.
  • In the fall, let your children rake up leaves, jump in the piles and then spread them around shrubs and plants for winter mulch.
  • Grow a garden. If you don’t have yard space, grow herbs or tomatoes in pots.
  • Plant an avocado seed and watch it grow.

3. Be Aware of Local Nature Expertise and Experiences. Wildlife biologists, naturalists, park employees and local librarians are wonderful sources of information. Don’t forget a friend who might be an avid birder or gardener.  

  • Watch your newspaper for season specific events - snow geese returning, herons nest building, spring peepers serenading at the pond.
  • Go owling or on a guided nature walk.
  • Take short daily family walks in your neighborhood. You will notice more each day. Keep a list of the birds or other wildlife you see. Visit parks or nature trails with eyes and ears wide open.
  • Visit a farm to see where food is grown. Some may offer groups an opportunity to feed calves, milk cows, and make ice cream.
  • Go berry picking and then make jam or buy vegetables at a local farmers’ market  and make stir-fry. Your children should know where food comes from.

4. Creation Appreciation Begets Creation Care. If you and your children grow in appreciation of God’s world, you will want to see it preserved. Make changes in your family and church community.

  • Set up recycling in your church, Sunday school classes, and fellowship hall.
  • Decrease consumption. Start a book, toy or clothing exchange.
  • Watch for opportunities to help clean up a park or beach.
  • Make use of these resources and share them with others:

Serve God, Save the Planet by J.Matthew Sleeth, MD (Chelsea Green Pub., 2006),

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv (Algonquin Books, 2008),

International Creation Care Organization (www.arocha.org),

Resource on Faith and Environmental Issues  (www.earthministry.org)

5. Enjoy God’s World and take good care of it.

Published April 22, 2009


Nancy White Carlstrom has received many awards including the Children’s Choice award, Parents’ Choice award, Outdoor Book award, Independent Booksellers’ award, numerous American Booksellers “Pick of the List,” Parent Magazine’s “Top 50 Children’s Books” and more. Her new book, This Is the Day! (Zonderkidz, February 2009, 978-0-310-71428-6, $15.99, Hardcover), bring kids a day-by-day celebration of God’s creatures and nature.  From frogs and ladybugs to rocks and creeks, she reminds kids to see God’s fingerprint in all their favorite things and protect the Earth He made.  Carlstrom resides in Seattle and Friday Harbor, Wash. Learn more at http://www.nancywhitecarlstrom.com/.