The Benefits Of Getting Your Children Into Nature
22nd April 2014
If you speak to any adult, roughly around the age of 40, and ask them about their childhood, the majority of them will be full of stories of their outdoor adventures; playing outside with friends, climbing trees, swimming in lakes, etc. All outdoors and most probably adult-free! And whilst it’s not the fault of today’s younger generation that technology has developed and there are more things that persuade us to spend our time indoors, there is no denying that there certainly has been, and still is, negligence to nature.
Shocking statistics from the Guardian reveal that:
• 64% of kids play outside less than once a week
• 28% haven’t been on a country walk over the past year
• 21% have never visited a farm
• 20% have never climbed a tree
But it’s a proven fact that being outdoors more often can improve your general wellbeing immensely, both mentally and physically. It can help keep obesity at bay and expose us to Vitamin D that is essential for healthy bone growth. It can also help your child become more socially aware, improving their self-awareness and co-operation, whilst also reducing any aggression and increasing happiness.
So, here are some ways you can help get your child to be more outdoorsy.
The park is an area specifically designed for children, so it would be foolish not to take advantage of this. It can be a great place for them to mix with other children and make friends.
This is a great way to get out into the world around you and see things you wouldn’t normally see. Find uncommon wildlife and see where they live!
Walk in the woods
There’s nothing quite like a walk in the woods, breathing in the earthy smells, you can even tell scary stories and play hide and seek behind the big old trees!
Night time star spotting
Most of us hardly ever take the time to stop and look up. So once the sun has set, sit back, put your feet up and star gaze with your children. You don’t even have to go anywhere far away; you could do it in the comfort of your back garden! Find out what different stars there are before you head out and see if you can spot them. Play dot-to-dot by closing one eye and joining them in the air with your finger.
If it’s the end of September, early October, take your children conkering! Break them loose from the trees and take them out from their spikey shells. You could turn it into a competition and see who can collect the most.
If you want to play a traditional game of Conkers, make a hole in each conker and thread some string through and knot on one end. Then you’re ready to face your component!
Climbing trees can provide any child with a real thrilling adventure! Just make sure you warn them beforehand which ones are too tall. It can be a great way for them to burn off some energy and strengthen their growing muscles.
Go to a field where there are lots of daisies and pick some from the ground. Try and pick them as close to the root as possible to ensure a long stem. Use your thumbnail to make a hole about half-way down in the stem. Thread another daisy stem through this hole and continue until you end up with a pretty chain.
On a lovely sunny day, pack up a picnic. You can take sandwiches, crisps, cheeses, dips, crackers, carrot sticks, fruit, cake, etc. Don’t forget the picnic blanket and some games, and then you’re all set to spend a fun day in the park together. If you have a dog, bring them along too!
Making the outdoors a part of your child’s life is one of the most beneficial and rewarding things to hope for from a childhood. So, why not give some of these ideas a go and help your child embrace the environment and the joys of nature that lay all around them.