We can’t control the way our kids turn out, but we can influence the hobbies and interests they develop and the values they take on as their own. If you have a love of nature and would like your children to share in the same joys you experience from spending time in the great outdoors, why not start with the only place in the house they can truly call their own? Encourage a love of outdoor adventure, dare youngsters to daydream, and spark a sense of wanderlust — all wondrous things that will enrich their lives in childhood and beyond.
The great outdoors. Instilling a love of nature is one of the greatest gifts you can give children and, if it endures to adulthood, one that will enrich their lives no end. An outdoorsy wall mural or motif will surround them with a natural scene when they’re indoors.
Tip: An outdoorsy bedroom will be more meaningful if some of your kids’ weekends are spent camping, playing in the water or, later, climbing to the summit of a mountain.
If you live in the inner city, helping kids feel more connected with nature can be a wondrous thing. Wallpaper can be custom-designed with just about any image you like — a feature wall of rolling hills, snowcapped mountains or a lush rainforest can turn your child’s bedroom into an oasis.
A subtler approach can result in a whimsical nature-inspired reading nook. Wall decals are an option if your artistic skills are a little rusty (or completely lacking); many designs are available.
Tip: Rotate the books you put on display to ensure that the reading nook stays fresh and inviting, and choose the books a young child reads with care. A child’s love of nature can be nurtured with beautiful illustrations, stories about animals, and plots that incorporate subtle lessons about the importance of caring for our environment.
Taking inspiration from nature in a more abstract way can also be quite spectacular. Tune into the colors of nature — of muddy rivers, red soil, the hues in the trunk of a tree — and bring them into the room any which way you please.
A spot for dreaming. Grown-ups aren’t the only ones who benefit from a little “me time.” When children can get away from the rest of the family (and the TV) to read and let their minds wander, who knows what they might dream up!
A bed that can become a secluded playhouse with the lowering of a flap can be just as magical. Buy one ready-made, or show children what can be done with a little imagination and effort, and make a hideaway yourself.
Even a simple sheet laid tentlike over a rope can create the secret hideout a little one will love.
Camping out. If your child loves camping, or even the idea of it, why not bring the experience home to keep the dream alive? A camper designed for adventures is a fun addition to any bedroom and don’t forget the tree stumps and firewood for them to roast marshmallows on sticks. A sewing machine and a bit of a time commitment will be necessary for this job, but think of the imaginative games your kids and their friends will play in a room like this one. Well worth it.
Globe-trotting. The earlier you can give your children a sense of their place in the world, the more global perspective they’ll have. Cover a wall in their room with a wallpaper map, or hang one above their desk where they can study the countries up close. Just don’t be surprised if they end up traveling the world the minute they leave school.