In this day and age technology has taken a front seat to going outdoors. Many kids today prefer to be inside playing video games or watching television as opposed to going outside. However, getting outside is important for their health and well being. According to research, spending time in natures has many benefits including better motor coordination, improved concentration, improved cognitive functioning, and a higher ability to be able to engage in play that is creative. Getting outside can also help improve symptoms of mental illness. It is for these reasons that it is so important to teach your kids to embrace the outdoors.
Since we understand the importance of getting kids outside, the question becomes, how do you teach your kids to do just that. Here are a few ideas to help you get your kids to fully embrace nature.
On one of those beautiful spring or fall nights, try sleeping outside with your kids. You can take a tent to your backyard and sleeping under the stars. Take the time to simply listen to the world around you. Kids will love the idea of sleeping outside with you. In addition, research has shown that sleeping outside away from artificial lights can help reset circadian rhythms and reduce grogginess.
One of the best and easiest ways to get your kids to be enthusiastic about nature is to simply be enthusiastic about it yourself. Children take their cues from their parents, so when they see you taking interest in nature they are likely to mimic you. Stop and smell the roses in your flowerbed. Find bugs and show an interest in them. All of this will help your children develop an enthusiasm for being outside.
Pack a blanket and go to an open field and spend the afternoon looking up at the clouds. Identify the different types of clouds or simply imagine what each of them looks like. You can make up stories about the clouds and encourage your children to tell you what they see. This can be a fun and relaxing way to spend some time together.
Take a Hike
Lace up your hiking boots and go for a walk in the woods with your kids. To help extend their attention span, bring along a bug jar or a magnifying glass. Encourage them to look for creatures and tracks along the way. When hiking with children it is important to remember to take your time. Let them lead the way and do not try to rush them from point to point.
From tomatoes on the patio to butterfly gardens, there are many easy and simple things that you can grow no matter where you live. Let your child help prepare the soil and plant the seeds. Teach them how to water the plants and weed. A garden takes some work, which will provide you with daily chances to get outside and enjoy nature.
Just Be Outside
Perhaps the best way to encourage your children to embrace the outdoors is the most simple. Just be outside. Go outside as much as possible. Even if it is just to sit on your patio in your backyard. When you go outside your children are going to see that it is enjoyable to relax outside and they will more than likely follow your lead. Make sure that you give your children uninterrupted outdoor time. You do not have to plan activities for them, let their imaginations take over. If you do just a few of the things on this list, chances are high that your kids are going to start spending more of their time outside.