Nature Lessons Taught Me To Go With The Flow


A toddler plays in a mud puddle wearing green rain bootsI spent most of my childhood outdoors, and I pictured doing the same with my child. I spent my childhood in hot and warm places, so the adjustment to the northeast is something that I still haven’t come to terms with. Even so, I knew that I had to get my son into nature to explore the great outdoors somehow.

So I signed up to be a Tinkergarten leader! Tinkergarten is a program that encourages children to be explorers through nature-based learning. I thought this would be the PERFECT way to let my son explore outside. 

A young boy plays in the woods during a nature lesson

I am not as laid back as I am perceived to be. There I said it. And I learned in just one session of leading Tinkergarten that I’m not laid back. I went with my perfectionist tendencies and my cut-out papers. I was ready to lead this class on a beautiful, 60-degree, sunny day. When I arrived, the wind was blowing and I quickly started shivering. I’m trying to gather the blowing materials, while my son is running around the park, and we are COLD!

What Happens When Things Don’t Go to Plan

I had a class to teach. I grabbed my jacket and played a very extended game of hide-and-seek, while the other little explorers of my class arrived. Many had also underestimated the weather, so we had to adapt from a mostly sitting class to a mostly running kind of class.

I thought I had it down, but then as the class went on my son was getting sleepy and my arm strength was deteriorating, as was my ability to speak over the wind. I was getting frustrated because things weren’t going how I expected. Our lesson on sticks was fun, but I was feeling nervous trying something new. We ended the class a few minutes early because it was cold and we were all tired.

Learning From Nature

As it turns out, most things don’t go to plan, especially in nature. Just like sometimes it rains when it is supposed to be sunny, we have to expect the unexpected. As for myself, I have found myself more prepared for things not to go to plan. It sounds counterintuitive, but everything going wrong in week one has helped me feel more at peace and able to funnel my creativity for the weeks to come. Even when we have a bad day or receive some criticism, it can lead us to find new ways of thinking or open an unexpected door. 

Moving on and Appreciating the Silver Linings

It’s scary to try new things, especially in nature! However, the only way to do something new is to do it, and I was proud that I did. I led a group of kids and their parents through a new activity. I’m looking forward to our second lesson because I feel less scared of things going wrong. I know that I can adapt, utilize my environment, and model this to the children in my class!

You can learn more about Tinkergarten and sign up for one of Lauren’s classes here.