As a nature and wildlife photographer I am—maybe not surprisingly—endlessly drawn to exploring and investigating the outdoors. Whether that curiosity drives me to stand on a cold mountain top to watch the sunrise or spend hours silently observing a foraging grizzly bear, it always leaves me filled with wonder. (And ultimately helps me raise awareness for the man-made threats all species face).
For me, it’s been this way for as long as I can remember, but during one of my recent outdoor excursions, a new question crossed my mind: had my environment growing up seeded my affection for nature? Were the planets and star stickers stuck to my ceiling as a child the reason for my interest in the cosmos? Was my most-beloved stuffed animal, a gorilla, the impetus for my trip to Rwanda to photograph its real-life brothers? And, if so, could my photography have an impact on new lives welcomed into this world—and instill in them a love for nature, too?
Well, I did a little research, and the answer is yes…and maybe. Either way, there are at least three reasons nursery decor centered around wildlife and nature photography is a boon for babies—and their parents.
Read on to learn more about how baby room decor can help you inspire a love for nature in your kid.
1. Nature photography soothes babies—big and small
Children and infants are not unlike our adult selves. We all get anxious in traffic or in crowded, noisy restaurants. And whether we’re in a high-end spa or its naptime at preschool, soothing sounds, soft lighting, and comforting smells help us relax. Indeed, science has proven our surroundings affect not just our mood, but also our concentration and health.
So, you can understand why pastel colors and friendly cartoon characters have dominated the nursery decor market forever. But while baby me might have indeed been soothed by a Care Bears nursery theme, what other benefits would that muted nursery decor have given me? Not as many as nature and wildlife photography, it turns out. But more on that in No. 2.
“Environments not only affect how we feel and send messages about how to act, but they can also influence what we learn.” – Virtual Lab School
2. A bold nursery theme boosts newborns’ visual development
Before you plaster every aspect of your baby’s room decor in pastel paint, consider this: research indicates that infants don’t begin to see substantial color differences until five months of age. At that age, babies can actually better distinguish between contrasting patterns and shapes—including black and white images.
Stronger visual signals to the brain create faster visual development. So, if you want to help your child’s visual development along, you’re better off choosing contrasting colors in various patterns (like these) for nursery decor.
Black and white images or photographs can provide textural variation, as well as contrasting stimulation for an infant’s eye. Later, moving to color photographs can help a baby explore subtle shades beyond stark contrasts. Plus, the subjects of these photographs can spark curiosity and affinity.
2. Nature photography teaches babies about the world
Accenting your baby’s room decor with images of wild animals and beautiful landscapes can also jump-start education and help familiarize your baby with the outside world.
Again, while cartoons are cute, research has shown that toddlers benefit and learn more from realistic photos than cartoon drawings. So, opt for a photo of a real-life elephant—or perhaps a series of animal portraits—for a double dose of educational and adorable.
You might even choose to display only photographs that show the loving relationship between babies and parents.
Influence your child’s love for the outdoors with nature-focused nursery decor
Exposing your child to nature can deliver countless mental and physical benefits. And using actual pictures of animals as nursery decor is one way to help make sure your little one grows up to love those beneficial outdoor adventures.
Why start so early? Well, a lot of brain development—including preference based on familiarity—takes shape in just the first few months of life. (Consider an infant’s preference for their mom’s face and voice over those of a stranger).
To get started, comb through wildlife and landscape photography collections. If you have a favorite place to vacation, find images from there to use in your nursery theme. And don’t worry—the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. If you love the outdoors, there’s a very good chance your kid will too. So, bring your baby outdoors. Go hiking and surround them with nature. Who knows? You may be nurturing the world’s next great conservationist.