HABITAT CONSCIOUS

How to get your kids off screens and into nature

The boxes also make life easier for parents working from home

In Summary

• The nature boxes help children learn about the environment around them 

• The June box had activities such as make a windsock, spot the insects, grow your own Nyayo beans and sunflowers

A display of one of the nature boxes with several activities for kids
A display of one of the nature boxes with several activities for kids
Image: COURTESY

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of parents have been forced to remain home with their children, limit their interactions outside, and juggle between work and keeping them entertained.

Speaking to the Star, Arjun Juna, founder of Craft Nature Boxes, said parents have turned to technology to entertain their children. 

Juna, who has always been fascinated by nature, founded the Craft Nature boxes to take children away from technology, get them to spend some time with their parents and teach them about nature.

 
 
 
 

"In this day and age, technology is king for kids, and once they are done with their online classes, they are either on the phones or watching television and it is very hard to take them away from them," he said. 

The nature boxes are a safe and fun alternative children can use to learn about different species of trees, plants, animals and how to conserve the environment. 

"In each one of our boxes, we have five activities. In our June box, we had grow your own Nyayo beans and sunflower. On each one of our cards, we tell them what to do and we give them a pot, soil, seeds and give them facts about the activity they are engaging in," he said. 

Thehey teach children that from the little seed, with a little care and attention and love, you can grow something that you can harvest and cook something. 

The boxes also offer unique arts and crafts activities that get the children out of the house and exploring in nature. 

"For example, in this box that we have in July, we have them make their own ice lantern," he said.

"It's about getting them to see they can engage in these little funky activities that won't take up much of their time but at the end of the day, they get something really cool from them and spend quality time with the people helping them." 

The boxes are produced every month, each with five different activities that can be done at once or dragged throughout the month. 

 
 

"We provide almost everything that is needed. The things we do not provide are like containers that you have at home or flowers that you can just walk around and pluck for use," he said. 

Juna adds the boxes are also aimed at making work easier for the parents working from home. 

"Because the kids are around so much, the activities are very easy so the kids can do them on their own and only engage the parents when they need a little help so they can focus their attention on work," he said. 

A young girl shows some of her craft work
A young girl shows some of her craft work
Image: COURTESY

The June box also had activities such as make a windsock, spot the insects where the kids were given a magnifying glass to help look for various insects and pictures so they could colour the animals they see. 

"In the process, they have fun and they have learnt that an ant can carry twice its body weight, a bee makes honey and a geck eats all the mosquitos in your house," Juna said. 

The July box is currently on sale and has a range of activities, including grow your own coriander, grow your own radish, make your own ice lantern, painting pebbles and leaf printing. 

Juna says although technology has made it easier for children to access information, a lot of them will not go online to research on plants and animals. 

He adds in this day and age, it is very important to know about self-sustainability and how to take care of the environment. 

"You don't need an acre to grow a shamba. On your balcony at home with a few pots and the right things in place, you can grow a kitchen garden. Teach the kids that now," he said. 

The project is aimed at reminding kids that tech is not the only thing.

"Show them what we did in our days. Teach them to be creative. Learn and then be an eco warrior because if they don't look at our country, who will?" he said. 

He hopes the project has a ripple effect, where children pass around the knowledge they get to their friends and younger siblings. 

"The biggest thing about spreading knowledge is you need to educate yourself before you can do it," he said.  

In the future, he hopes to join hands with schools to make activities and boxes that will help the curriculum. 

"If some kids are struggling with something in school, the teacher can consult and we can come up with a box of activities that they can do and learn from," he said. 

Parents who are interested in purchasing the box can get one at Sh3,500 or have a three-month subscription at Sh3,000 each month. 

Juna hopes to break down the activities so parents who cannot afford the whole box can have options. 

"If you can afford only Sh500 and you still want your kids to do this activity, hopefully in time, we will have that box which will have some activities the kids can do," he said. 

Edited by  T Jalio