It is normal for young kids, especially toddlers, to have a natural love for nature. They will curiously run their tiny hands through flowers to experience how it feels, go down on all fours just to watch an army of ants march by, or even get excited at the sound of birds chirping.
Unfortunately, with today’s lifestyle filled with technological gadgets, an endless array of cartoons, and structured play, our children rarely get a chance to grow their love for nature and explore the great outdoors. This robs them of the chance to develop and improve several important life skills including concentration, motor coordination, creative play, and cognitive functioning. This is why many child experts are strongly encouraging parents to get their kids out more. So to support this motion, you can check out these few tips that will make it easier for you as a parent to get your kids away from their beloved gadgets and toys and out to spend some time in nature.
1. Just Get Out
Your child will not get to discover the allure of nature until they actually spend some time in it. So, start getting out more and start as soon as possible when your little one has started to take an interest in his/her surroundings. Any outdoor activity will do whether it’s a game of catch at the park, a picnic, some playtime in the yard, a visit to a nature center, or a nature walk through the woods. The key here is to greatly increase the amount of time your child spends outdoors and to let him/her take the reins during these fun outings. Kids are likely to explore more and have more fun if they are given some independence during outdoor time. Therefore, try to refrain from taking complete control over all outdoor activity. You can also consider getting a nature journal like the one above for your kids to jot down what they have observed.
2. Turn to the Skies
Whether day or night, the sky is a fascinating sight especially to a small child. Therefore, occasionally pack a warm blanket and go lay down in an open field with your child to look at the clouds and any passing birds. You can even pack a binoculars and a cloud book (like the one above) and get your child to try and identify different cloud types. In the same way, sit out at the porch during nights to look at stars and identify different constellations.
3. Find a Natural Water Body to Explore
A natural water body is a great way to get your kid to connect with nature. Not only will kids love hanging around or inside a pond or stream for hours, but they will also have a lot of fun as they discover the snails, fish, insects, and other creatures within or outside the water body. You can even bring along a shovel to get your child to actively look for fascinating creatures and items around the water body.
4. Organize Hikes or Other Outdoor Activities
While walking through the woods with a small child may seem like a daunting task, there are actually many kid-friendly hiking destinations around the world. Just make sure to stick to a short trail and allow or even encourage your child to explore every nook and cranny along the way.
If you’re not too keen on hiking, other adventurous outdoor activities such as camping, water rides, a tour through the zoo, etc. offer an experience that’s just as fun and beneficial as an outdoor excursion.
In addition to instilling a love of nature in your child and allowing him/her to enjoy the benefits that come with immersing children in nature, the time spent outdoors will give the two of you a chance to strengthen your relationship. So, try these tips and come up with other fun reasons to get out more.