The idea of getting your kids out to explore the nature might be a little daunting, but playtime outdoors can bring various benefits. According to Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, spending time in nature can benefit children’s health by improving concentration, supporting motor fitness and intellectual development, fostering greater mental acuity and inventiveness, and much more.
However, these days it can be hard to get your little ones engaged with nature, thanks to the ubiquity of electronic devices like tablets and smartphones. Luckily, there are ways to get your kids to have fun and be entertained outdoors, even when there are no screens. Here are some activities you can try:
Make a Routine
Create a habit that will get your children out and about regularly, even if it is as simple as a walk in the park. Making a routine helps your children realise that nature is an important part of their lives. Twice or three times a week is recommended, although more can be better.
Introduce and Guide
Everything is new to your little ones, which makes it a perfect time to guide them through all elements in nature. Encourage them to draw the trees throughout the seasons, quiz them on the names/colours of different birds, or get them to smell flowers and feel seeds in their hands – all (safe) sensory stimulations are welcome.
Plan to Have No Agenda
To boost their engagement even further, also allow largely unstructured playtimes where kids can do whatever they are interested in outdoors, rather than following a prescribed plan. This will nurture their creativity and put the leisure time on their terms.
Go on an Excursion
Guided excursions are not only fun and engaging, but they can also let your kids learn more about the wonders of nature. A trip to the zoo, a national park, a fruit farm or an observatory is always a good idea to develop your children’s curiosity in nature.
Start a Collection
A collection box can nurture your children’s engagement with nature and allow them to look back on their past activities. The options are endless – from inanimate objects such as pebbles, leaves and twigs to live ones such as plants and bugs.