We are back to nature again for our post in the 31 Days of Learning from Clare from Emmy’s Mummy and Harry’s Mummy Too. In this post we talk about nature activities for children and how beneficial they truly are. The best thing about being in nature is that you don’t have to trek out to the woods, you can enjoy your own garden and make the best of nature right at home!
Kids today are spending more time on the couch and less time enjoying the natural world outside. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, makes the case that many children today suffer from what he refers to as “nature deficit disorder.” He coins this phrase to describe a generation of kids that has limited contact with the natural world due to a variety of factors.
Why don’t kids play outside anymore?
Many adults of today can easily remember lazy summer days filled with outdoor activities. But today, safety concerns cause many parents to limit their children’s time outside. I remember playing outside as soon as my breakfast was finished, and not returning home until dinner time often. We would ride our bikes, play Kirby in the street, hide and seek and enjoy the fresh air, and even play out in the rain.
Kids who are raised on a steady diet of electronic media may become accustomed to being “entertained” and have difficulty shifting their attention to a less “stimulating” activity. Some kids don’t have access to safe, healthy outdoor environments, and others are involved in so many structured activities there is no time left over for creative outdoor play.
Why do kids need to play outside?
Outside play, with its fresh air and physical activity, is the natural cure for those kids who would prefer to sit and play video games or watch TV all day. With childhood obesity at all-time highs, it’s imperative that kids get off the couch and get active. Interaction with nature can help spark curiosity, imagination, and creativity. It can also be a great stress reliever and a way to bond adults and children.
What can you do to get kids outdoors
Encourage children of all ages to get outside as much as possible. Here are a few ideas which can be fun for all ages:
- Plant a Garden: Nothing tastes better than a fresh salad made with home-grown vegetables. Children will learn valuable skills such as planning and organisation while benefiting from physical exertion and fresh air. It is also a lasting life skill which will set them up for life, as well as growing their own food, we can teach them to prepare and cook their own meals.
- Watch the Birds: Purchasing, or better yet, building, a simple birdhouse can turn any garden into the go-to spot for local feathered friends. Place feeders close enough to windows to afford an unobstructed view, fill with birdseed, and be patient. You could also make your own bird cakes for them to enjoy.
More nature activities for children
- Play in the Sand: Sand play isn’t just for little kids. Sifting, dumping, and building can be fun and relaxing for kids of all ages. Add molds, water, vehicles, and other details to create elaborate roads, buildings, and waterways.
- Stare at the Sky: The sky is full of simple yet amazing things; all you need to do is lie down on your back in the grass and look up. Check out the shapes clouds make in the sky, or the way the sky changes colour at sunrise and sunset.
- Climbing trees and obstacle courses: Frugal and free fun for all ages. Most children love to climb, pop on some sensible shoes, make sure legs are covered to avoid scratches and scrapes and have fun. If you’ve no trees nearby you can climb you can use hula hoops, upturned flowerpots, slides and other garden equipment to make an obstacle course.
Outside play doesn’t have to be complicated or elaborate. In fact, some of the best ideas are often the simplest.
We have a few more ideas for nature activities for children on KiddyCharts – do take a look if you get a chance.
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