A certain connection with nature can go a long way in children’s holistic development. The physical, emotional, and cognitive aspects of a child can be enhanced by mere exposure to nature, even through simple outdoor activities. For example, research shows that outdoor time reduces fatigue and stress since it encourages children to explore, interact, and move. Moreover, being exposed to nature gives children a certain sense of responsibility to protect it, which is an excellent value to instill in them.
Planning a nature trip can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Here are some things you need to keep in mind for a fun outdoor activity.
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Let them get dirty
Some research suggest that being exposed to a tolerable amount of dirt, bacteria, and germs can help strengthen kids’ immune systems. Keep this in mind during your nature activity. Do not limit your children’s interaction with nature by stressing over mud and dirt. Instead, you can relax and let your little ones jump in a puddle, pick up twigs, or crawl on the ground. This is a good way of creating a meaningful connection with nature. However, you should be armed with a first aid kit for minor injuries, turmeric cream which can potentially ease body aches and sore muscles, and insect repellants for extra protection.
Let them lead
Your main job during a nature trip is to observe. Children are naturally more curious than adults, so expect a lot of stopovers and exciting questions. Do not rush them, and do not interrupt them by asking them to pose for photos. Instead, let them listen to the birds, smell the air, touch the trees, and observe the insects. If they are hesitant to explore, encourage them by asking questions like “Which do you think is the tallest tree in this forest?” or saying things like “I wonder how moss feels like.” This can poke their interest and open their minds to different things.
Being out in nature is a way to tickle kids’ imagination since it provides them with vast space to explore. Make sure you have room for pretend plays, storytelling, problem-solving, and hands-on activities. You’ll be surprised by your children’s creativity; they can pick up sticks and pretend to be in a swordfight or even collect stones and twigs to make their own house. You can also use this opportunity to teach the kids basic life skills, like starting a fire, putting up a tent, cooking, and other useful activities. The key is to give them the freedom to explore and try things on their own.
Nature trips and outdoor activities leave your children with unforgettable adventures and irreplaceable memories. But they don’t have to be grand all the time. The best way to maintain the connection between your children and nature is to spend more time outdoors. It can be as simple as walking to the park, going on a picnic, or even stargazing in your garden. Don’t forget to put your gadgets away and live in the moment.