Wildlife Gardens for Kids, NOT Disney yards

My good friend Bethe Almeras went on a rant yesterday over at the Grass Stain Guru, with her post “Why Your Yard Shouldn’t Go Disney.” This rant is so good you should go read it right now, and then come back here. Go ahead, I’ll be waiting when you get back :)

Really? Disney yards?

I’m with Bethe:

Do us all a favor, turn off the TVs and head out into your regular old yard with your kids. Hunt for four leafed clovers, make dandelion crowns and watch fireflies dance like fairies. Give your children something that is really worth remembering.

I say build wildlife gardens, not Disney yards for kids.

Creating wildlife gardens and activities to teach children about the natural world around them is one of the best gifts you can give to the kids in your life.

Wildlife gardens create a space to share the wonder of nature with children, and in my opinion are way more valuable than any tv show or computer game.

So, instead of “Going Disney” in your yard why not try some of these activities:

Play in the Leaves

Look for Birds

Search for Footprints

Make Your Own Birdfood and Wildlife Treats

Become a Citizen Scientist

Invite your neighbors to visit your wildlife garden

My wildlife garden has become a magnet for the kids in my neighborhood. They know that I can show them where the Robin made it’s nest, where the Monarch laid its eggs, and where the raccoon spends the day.

We turn over rocks to look for snakes and bugs. We lay in the meadow and see who lives there. We watch the wren go back and forth from the brush pile to the bird house carrying insects back for the babies with each trip. We try to guess which flower the bumblebee will visit next.

The truth of the matter is, we don’t need any special equipment that costs any money at all.

All we really need to have is a sense of wonder and allow our imaginations to run wild. These precious moments in time are some of my most-cherished memories. I’m hoping my little neighborhood friends feel the same way!

What memories are you creating in your wildlife garden with the children in your life?

Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.

© 2011 – 2012, Carole Sevilla Brown. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

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  1. Kathryn M. Young says

    I couldn’t agree more about the poor ‘vision’ of the HGTV folk. Does anybody out there have an
    In with the HGTV production people? They obviously could use some help Imagineering
    (as good ol’ Walt used to say) programs of real benefit to our world.

  2. says

    Carole, I will head over to read the post…I was appalled at the HGTV promos on building a big plastic Disney garden. Yikes, not only are they not wildlife friendly, they are ugly. I wish I lived in a neighborhood with sidewalks so the kids who leave near us could stop by. gail

  3. says

    Carole — I am so tickled that my rant inspired yours! I just don’t think people THINK. And TV networks certainly don’t — they just think about how to make money and get sponsors. But surely there is a way to educate and entertain in a way that is good for kids & wildlife both.

    HGTV just needs to come talk to us!

    xo- Bethe
    Bethe recently posted..No Posts Were Found!

  4. says

    Carole, I love that your garden is a magnet not only for wildlife but for neighborhood kids. When I was a kid I was just drawn to wild spaces (I still am), but, sadly, I was never welcomed into a neighbor’s garden. My own love of nature is alive and well though, thanks to the moments I spent seeking out birds nests and watching bugs crawling in the long grass as a kid and teen. Wildlife watching really is contagious. For the last week my teen daughter has spent a lot of time, binoculars in hand, watching the baby robins right outside our kitchen window. She vows she’s take bird feeders to college with her because she can’t be without them!

  5. says

    Great stuff Carole (and Bethe)

    The part that scares me is how many kids would go out into their yard and NOT be able to find a dandelion to make a crown, a three leaf clover (let alone a four leaf) and I’d hazard a guess that some might even inquire what a firefly is. I have fond memories of sitting in the “grass” at our summer place spending endless amounts of time trying to find those very four leaf clovers and I believe, “as luck would have it” that it helped provide a basis for my love of nature as an adult!
    Loret recently posted..Imagine My Disappointment


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