Remember when you were a child you were constantly out and about, playing in the trees, being at one with nature? If the answer to this is yes, you will know that playing outdoors and enjoying nature is something that every child should experience.
But sadly these days kids spend most of their time indoors – or as one national paper reported earlier in the year, less time outdoors than prison inmates….holy moly! Yup, you can bank on the fact that they are woefully far more likely to be found close to a plug socket than experiencing the great British outdoors. It’s obvious, kids need fresh air, in fact we all do. Families who find ways to get their kids involved with the outdoors and nature will find a whole host of benefits, including improved conservation ethic, happiness, health, creativity and concentration.
If you are worried that your children are not getting outdoors as much as they should be and you are stuck for ideas on how to entice them outdoors- try a few of these suggestions:
Once your children have been introduced into birdwatching, their love of nature will naturally evolve. Birdwatching allows them to look at the ground, into the sky, and everything inbetween.
Try and teach your children about the birds in the region, and in the back garden! Observe the colour, behaviour and sounds these feathered friends make. The next time you head outdoors bring along a pair of binoculars, and watch as they scour their surroundings. According to Kennedy Wild Bird Food, If you want to attract more birds to the garden, investing in a good bird feeder, and some tasty bird treats will ensure they keep coming back for. As it is winter, laying out a couple of suet balls will give the birds an extra energy boost to help them thrive in the cold months.
Gather nature’s freebies
Help your child make the most of all that nature has to offer. Younger kids can gather pine cones, acorns, conkers and colourful leaves. If you are at the beach, look for pretty shells and rocks. Bring them all home and keep them in a shoebox or somewhere to display them.
Give your child their own patch in the garden or flowerpot. You can let them plant whatever vegetables, flowers and fruits they want. But fast growing plants such as basil, tomatoes or basil can can yield quick rewards. Teach them how to water plants and be careful not to over direct their gardening efforts.
Appreciate the seasons
In the UK, we are lucky to have such varied seasons. Look into the clouds and stare at the different shapes with your children. While we all love hot, sunny weather, don’t forget that this winter weather can be fun too. Dress your kids in the right gear and watch them play in the snow and jump into the puddles. You could even watch a thunderstorm from afar in your cozy home.
Kids are fascinated by insects, i know i was. Ladybirds in particular make perfect kid friendly specimens. Armed with a magnifying glass and a small net, help your little bug catcher capture these little critters. Once caught, place in jar or container with some leaves and a couple of twigs. Make sure you punch a couple of holes through the container and replenish the leafs and twigs every couple of days.
A trip to the woods, or somewhere that produces local produce teaches children that food doesn’t come from Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Ripened raspberries and blueberries are perfect for picking right off the branch. But beware of blackberries! As these delicious berries tend to be attached to a thorny stem. When you return from your foraging adventure, why not get baking? Make some jam or a cake and show them how nature’s loveliness can taste so good.
Do you do any of the above to help get your children out and about in nature? What else do you do to encourage them to connect with the natural world? Do share in a comment below.
*This is a collaborative post