Welcome back to my series on Dr. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences! Today we’re going to learn about the naturalist intelligence and how to identify it.

In my experience, all young children demonstrate a high naturalist intelligence. Kids often love playing outside (when given the opportunity), building forts, exploring the woods, collecting leaves and bugs — the outdoors invites curiosity, play and imagination. There are many ways for parents to nurture this particular intelligence, which we’ll discuss in my next blog post. For now, here are some common characteristics of those with a high naturalist intelligence. They…


  • Are interested in animals, plants and biology
  • Are skilled at collecting, categorizing and cataloging information
  • Enjoy exploring the outdoors & doing activities like camping, hiking and/or gardening
  • Make shrewd observations
  • Pick up on subtle changes to their environment
  • Read books (both fiction and nonfiction) related to the natural world

Does this sound like anyone in your family? Each of us have all nine of Dr. Gardner’s intelligences, the question is to what degree and in what combination. The beauty is, we are also able to strengthen and improve our intelligence in any given area. Stay tuned for the next post, where we’ll look at activities you can do with your children at home to hone their naturalist intelligence!

*Parts of this post are taken from The Everything Parent’s Guide to Raising Mindful Children (Adams Media), a book I authored along with partner Jeremy Wardle. Order your copy here!

What sorts of things did you do outside when you were a kid? Did you have any special outdoor places?

Share your stories here!

Want to catch up? Read these earlier posts from the Multiple Intelligence series:

1) Multiple Intelligences: An Overview For Parents (p.1)
2) Multiple Intelligences: An Overview For Parents (p.2)
3) The Linguistic Intelligence: How to Identify Word-Smart Learners
4) Cultivate Your Linguistic Intelligence: Activities for Word-Smart Learners
5) The Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: What Is A Logic-Smart Learner?
6) Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Logic-Smarts

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