Do you remember playing outdoors as a kid? It was a time to run around and let loose, use your imagination and explore. As a child growing up in the 1980's, I remember walking to school, riding my bike to the swim club or just around the neighborhood to see friends, and making up all kinds of imaginative games in the woods behind my house.
Well, playing outdoors doesn't happen much anymore. Sadly, kids spend five to eight hours a day in front of a screen, which means children are having less experience with and connection to nature.
Nature helps reduce stress
We are all struggling to balance a million priorities and to make the best decisions for our family, here are a few ways to get children outdoors:
- Spend more time outside as a family. Keep your children's outdoor time unstructured–go for a walk, visit a local park, ride bikes, have a healthy meal in your backyard, garden.
- Plan day trips and vacations based on National Parks or other outdoor experiences.
- Register your children for outdoor sports and summer camp.
- Teach children to be mindful of nature around you.
- Lobby for your school to keep physical education and recess on your child's schedule.
- Start a nature group at your child's school.
- Get involved in a community garden or local environmental group.
- Examine ways to minimize technology use in your house.
With a bit of planning, it's easy to be creative and add nature experiences back into our children's lives. Get them out from behind the screen, and go explore outdoors! Just remember to bring your sunscreen and bug spray!