Most children nowadays prefer to sit in front of a screen rather than spend time outdoors, and parents are concerned about the impact on their children’s development. While spending time in nature should be an important aspect of growing up, children are becoming increasingly disconnected from it.
For children, the advantages of being in nature are limitless!
Children are natural scientists who like exploring the sights, smells, sounds, and textures of the natural world. Nature offers a plethora of options for exploration, creativity, and problem-solving.
When children are given the opportunity to explore, they learn far more than you could ever teach them. Children are free to share, collaborate, and navigate in an unstructured setting. It allows them to actively engage their senses as they explore their surroundings.
It allows children to exercise their imaginations while also allowing them to grow mentally, physically, and emotionally.
The majority of research examining the benefits of spending time in nature has found that children who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less worried than those who spend more time indoors.
In this urbanised world children are increasingly losing opportunities to connect directly with nature. They are also missing out on opportunities to improve their health and well-being as well as establish appropriate long-term environmental behaviour.
Most significantly, research has shown that their experiences outdoors foster a love of nature and establish the groundwork for future environmental responsibilities.
The vast outdoors also offers a plethora of math learning opportunities—many of which are linked to science—that can pique children’s curiosity and involve them in real-world problem-solving.
Some brain-building nature activities that can be tried by parents are, playing in the sand, watching earthworms in the garden, listening to bird songs, smelling the flowers, collecting seeds, and climbing trees.
These are activities that parents can do along with their children since it is beneficial to everybody!
Here are a few easy ways to kindle a love for nature amongst children:
It starts at home:
Whether you have a garden at home or not, have your child sow seeds in a pot and encourage him to nurture them. Watching the seed grow into a plant can be the child’s introduction to the wonderful natural world.
Parks And Gardens
Take them to parks, botanical gardens, and reserved forests to arouse their curiosity. The outdoors can be an experience that opens up all their five senses: feel, see, taste, smell, and hear.
Being out in nature stimulates children’s senses through the sights they see, the things they can touch including plants and animals, and the noises in their surroundings. Many experiences can only be found by being out in the natural world that cannot be created indoors. First-hand experiences will transform a child’s outlook.
Visit zoos and zoological parks allow children to connect with wildlife and be sensitized towards it.
Art With Nature:
Encourage your child to create art out of things from nature, these could be leaves, flowers, petals, twigs, etc. Do remember it is the process that is important, not the result.
Allow them to explore the resources available at their own pace.
Adding nature to our children’s lives can be a great gift that we can give them that will really have a remarkable impact even in their adult lives.
By engaging in outdoor activities with your children, you will be passing on the value of knowing and respecting Mother Earth.