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Growing up in the mountains of Northern California I spent many summer days at the lake. The icy cold water was clear, made up of melted snow. The lake bottom was sticky mud, and I’d dig with my toes until my feet were completely buried. Sometimes I’d build sand castles at the water’s edge, but my favorite thing was to lay on my back and float on the water. With my toes pointing skyward, I’d take in tall green pines with a large mountain, still snow-covered, peeking out from behind them.
As a girl, I loved going to Sunday school but I felt God most when I was floating on the lake. Even though I couldn’t put it into words the beauty of creation turned my heart to the Creator.
As a mom I want my kids to have the same experience. Here are five ways that I’ve helped my kids learn about God through nature. I also want to use nature to bring Scripture to life, and I’ve included Scriptures to share, too.
1. Plant flowers. With inexpensive pots and seeds, plant flowers with your kids. As you watch them grow discuss the flowers’ “clothing.” Ask, “Why do you think God designed so many types of flowers? What does that tell you about God? Scripture to share:
“Look at the wild flowers. See how they grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that even Solomon, the great and rich king, was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers.” Luke 12:27 NLT
2. Draw landscapes. Find a beautiful view and draw the landscapes such as mountains, meadows, and trees on paper. I love using oil pastel sticks for bold colors. Talk about the act of creating art and how the landscapes are God’s artwork. Scripture to share:
“He is the one who makes the mountains. He creates the wind. He makes his thoughts known to man. He changes the dawn into darkness. He walks over the mountains of the earth. His name is the Lord God of heaven’s armies.” Amos 4:13 ICB
3. Make a water and sandbox. My kids love to play with water and sand in the summer. Going to the beach is fun, but if that’s not possible we create our own water and sandbox in the backyard. A plastic tub and sand bought at the hardware store does the trick. Then just add water with scoops. As your kids create paths, such as rivers, in their sandbox talk about the rivers, lakes, and seas that God created. Scripture to share:
“You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority—the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.” Psalm 8:6-8 NLT
4. Set up a bird feeder. A simple bird feeder can be made from a plastic plate with bird food. (We have fun one that is clear and mounts to the outside of our kitchen window.) As you watch the birds, talk about how God cares for each one of them. Check out a bird guide from the library and keep track of the different types of birds that visit your feeder. Scripture to share:
“Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns. But your heavenly Father feeds the birds. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds.” Matthew 6:26 ICB
5. Go on a nature walk and bring along a picnic lunch and your King of Everything Bible. The King of Everything Bible features Photography from National Geographic. Written in the International Children’s Bible translation, it’s easy to understand. (I used this version for some of the Scripture passages in this post.)
Inside the Bible are animal-themed articles. One example is, “Animals That Regenerate,” which talks about how God gave a few animals the ability to regrow their body parts.
Look at the pictures and read the articles with your children as you also enjoy nature together. Talk the numerous ways that God cares for all life on earth. Scripture to share:
“The life of every creature and the breath of all people are in God’s hand.” Job 12:10 ICB
Children love nature. These are just a few of the ways to help them fall in love with God who created all things!
What are your favorite ways or scriptures to help your kids see God in nature?
This post first appeared on TommyNelson.com.