The Eighth Intelligence: Nature Smart

The Jibbers loves bugs. His favourite place to be is looking for little animals or bugs in our yard. He is drawn to people’s pets and carries around a guinea pig puppet till he can finally get one of his own. He will never leave the zoo if it was up to him. Every walk requires us to carry a metal pail for our collecting along the way: pine cones, twigs, rocks, grass, flowers, bugs, and sometimes even dirt. I just have to leave the back door open and he will spend hours playing in the dirt: digging, searching, collecting and studying all the creatures he finds. We’re waiting for him to get old enough to become a zoo volunteer; hopefully they have such a program here. He used to pretend he was the ‘zoo guy’ at the petting zoo and start directing all the children and parents as they came in. He even helped to clean up their living quarters and feed them.


Sometimes I’ll come outside after having washed the dishes to see what he’s up to, and he’ll have his binoculars aimed at a bird sitting on top of the orange tree. He asks me everyday when he can go and climb the orange tree again – we’ve had some major ant issues that bit him the last time.


One day, I came outside and he was just sitting in his chair, watching, breathing, being. He seemed so much a part of the natural landscape. I learn so much from watching him. When we go for walks he touches all the trees that we come across: “Oh this one is bumpy. This one is smooth. This one feels like plastic.”


Josh and I believe we have a child with a keen understanding of and an avid interest in the natural world.


Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University came up with the multiple intelligence theory. The following list of characteristics was developed by Professor Leslie O. Wilson, School of Education at the University of Wisconson, and is based off of Gardner’s understanding of the naturalist intelligence, the eight intelligence. This list can be found in Richard Louv‘s Last Child in the Woods.

  1. Have keen sensory skills, including sight, smell, sound, taste or touch.
  2. Readily use heightened sensory skills to  notice and categorize things from the natural world.
  3. Like to be outside, or like outside activities like gardening, nature walks, or field trips geared toward observing nature or natural phenomena.
  4. Easily notice patterns from their surroundings – likes, differences, similarities, anomalies.
  5. Are interested in and care about animals or plants.
  6. Notice things in the environment others often miss.
  7. Create, keep, or have collections, scrapbooks, logs or journals about natural objects – these may include written observations, drawings, pictures and photographs, or specimens.
  8. Are very interested, from an early age, in television shows, videos, books or objects from or about nature, science or animals.
  9. Show heightened awareness of and concern for the environment and/or endangered species.
  10. Easily learn characteristics, names, categorizations and data about objects or species found in the natural world.

Is your child a naturalist? What do you do to encourage them in their nature exploration?


~ by Omaira on February 27, 2013.

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