So Much More Than A Cute Kid Story

This post originally appeared in Dr. Rachel A. Larimore’s weekly Samara newsletter on January 23, 2024. If you’re interested in receiving these emails, scroll to the bottom of this page to subscribe.

Let me set the scene for you…

Two sisters ages 6 and 8 wake up to a fresh blanket of snow; one looks out the window while the other is still in bed

Ava: It snowed last night!

Lilly: What kind of snow is it?

Ava: It’s not glittery snow. Looks like snowman snow.

My friend recently shared this interaction between her children. At first glance it just seems like a cute kid story. We have lots of cute kid stories in our work, don’t we? But like with almost every cute story…there’s real depth to notice.

For me, this story demonstrates three big ideas…

Learning over time

These two children clearly have prior experience with snow as they were able to describe two very different types of snow. That level of knowledge comes from hands-on experience–literally getting their hands in the snow to feel the difference between light fluffy flakes and heavy, wet snow. 

This is one of the many powerful aspects of nature-based learning. Children make meaning from their experiences learning with nature. Nature taught them about the different types of snow. All the adults had to do was provide them with safe opportunities over time to play in the snow. 

❓How are you supporting children to connect with nature over time?

Children’s explanations

The second thing that came to mind when I heard this story was what a wonderful explanation of the characteristics of snow! This was an age-appropriate, meaningful explanation. All too often children provide explanations and we dismiss them as superficial, but often those seemingly insignificant comments are packed with deep understanding and knowledge. 

If someone had followed up with Ava by asking  “Oh, why would it be good for making a snowman?” I suspect she would have said something like, “It’ll pack together well” or “It’s really wet and heavy.” 

❓Listen to children’s language this week, what explanations about the world do you hear them share?

Deep listening

Finally, the other thought that came to mind about this story was the importance of deep listening. All too often as adults we hear what kids say, but we don’t really listen for the learning they are expressing. If we pause and listen to what children are saying, what they’re implying, or even what they’re not saying we can glean a lot about what they are learning. 

I think the fun stories we like to share with families are great opportunities to highlight the learning that children are engaged with every day, in every moment.

❓Think of your favorite stories of children playing. What does that story tell you about their growth and development?

These are a few thoughts I had upon hearing this story which illustrates the importance of the work you are doing connecting children with nature. What did this story bring up for you?

Keep changing lives,


Rachel A. Larimore, Ph.D., Chief Visionary of Samara Learning


You may also like…


Evaluating Natureness: Collection of practices


Abundance of Distractions