Member Musings: How To Teach a Child to be Gentle


Recently, I was with a group of young children that had made a circle around some bugs. They  watched them as they uncurled and moved slowly on the earth. They learned that when the Roly Poly felt threatened, it would curl up in a ball. 

One of the children held a bug in his hand. He was mesmerized. He stood there simply holding this little black bug as it crawled on him. He knew if he tried and touch it, the bug would curl up in a ball. He held it carefully so the bug would keep crawling.

We spent more time than we could have imagined simply holding these precious bugs as each child had a chance to experience first hand what it meant to be gentle. I knew we could carry this lesson that unfolded naturally in the forest to other parts of their lives. We can use this moment of holding a little creature to help children understand how to treat a younger or older sibling. 

Recipe to Teach A Child to Be Gentle

  • An ant hill
  • A rock or dirt where a Roly Poly/Pill Bug may live
  • A lady bug
  • A loving adult
  • A young child


  • Take the time to look and observe an ant hill or under a rock for a Roly Poly
  • Guide a child to observe the bug or ant
  • Gently place the bug in a child’s outstretched hand

Cooking time:

This is the key to the entire experience, there is no set time.  Some children can observe an ant hill for 30 minutes and others for two minutes.  Take the time to give the child time.

Watch and Truly Enjoy!


Pamela Worth is the owner of Tiny Treks, and outdoor education program.

PAMP gladly accepts member blog submissions, including anecdotes, advice, confessions, recipes, outing suggestions, and more! Want to join in the fun? Submit your own musings here.





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