Chances are you’re aware of the benefits of spending time in the great outdoors, both as a parent and healthy, thriving human being. While people of all ages have much to gain from spending time outside, the early developmental years are especially crucial for instilling healthy habits and getting in touch with nature.
Boasting remarkable results in terms of mental and physical health, implementing more outdoor time has demonstrated benefits ranging from boosted mood and lower stress levels, to reduced ADHD symptoms and even higher learning aptitude.
Furthermore, getting your child outside more is a great way to cultivate their independent spirit, boost curiosity, and build confidence.
Here are 4 foolproof ways to get your kiddo outdoors this spring:
4. Bring the Goods
Some kids will take the reins in creating their own fun in the wild, while others will require an encouraging nudge in the right direction. The knack of inspiring your child doesn’t have to remain a mystery, however. By simply tuning into what their interests are inside, you can give them the tools to bring their playtime outside.
Does your kid like to draw? Bring along some paper and colored pencils and let nature be their muse.
Are they going through a superhero phase? Treat them to some water guns or makeshift swords and have them make the great outdoors their battleground. (PRO TIP: Pool noodles make for cheap, readily available and generally safe lightsabers!)
When it comes to enabling outdoor play, sparking their imagination with a few simple props can go a long way.
3. Make Technology Your Friend
It can be hard to tear your kids away from the iPad, especially after a long winter during which you may have been a little more lenient with their screen time allowance. Apps, video games, and TV are notoriously addicting, and pre-adolescents are no exception.
Technology doesn’t have to be the enemy, however! Just like schools have been implementing it into their learning curriculums, it can also be productive in encouraging your kids to explore nature.
Check out the range of outdoor-oriented kids apps that send your children on missions to scout out their surroundings and identify plants, rocks, insects and small animals in their own backyard.
2. Dine Al Fresco
When weather permits, obviously. There’s nothing like struggling to enjoy a nice cup of tea while the wind gusts around you to knock the stuffing out of ya. But when it’s nice outside, there’s no better time to carpe diem! Seize the opportunity to take your meal outside and take in the fresh air while you munch.
Having an outdoor space like a patio, backyard, or even a rooftop (given that it’s safe and accessible) is a definite advantage for making a habit of eating outside, but if not - don’t fret!
Packing a picnic and taking it to the park makes for a great change of scenery. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
1. Help Your Child Grow (a Garden!)
Got a green thumb? Pass along your wisdom to your child and show them the ropes this spring with your own garden! Growing crops is a fun and rewarding excuse to bond with your child and let them get their hands dirty- all the while reaping the fruits of your labor (see what I did there?) All. Season. Long.
Whether you decide on spring flowers, fruits, vegetables or herbs, tending to the garden is a wonderful way to engage with nature for children and adults alike. Plant the seed (last pun, I promise) of appreciation for our earth and make your kiddo your right-hand helper with the garden this spring!
When you coax your kids out in the light of day, you're doing more than just stimulating them with the dynamic environments to be found outside...
You'll also tap back into your connection with the great outdoors, and your inner light - So head on out with them, get some fresh air and sunshine, and bond with your young'uns over the adventure. Besides, they're looking to us to learn that there's more to life than being plugged in!
Maggie Johnson | Greens Steel Lifestyle Contributor