5 Reasons Your Child Will Benefit From Being in Nature
Now that the weather is finally nicer outside, the world of activities to do with your children suddenly opens up to spending a lot more time outdoors! Not only is it great for you to get outside, but your child will also benefit from a nature walk. Here’s why you should take your kids on a nature walk soon and often!
Exercise is good, no matter how you do it
Perhaps it might be too much to go on a huge hike with your child at first. Start by asking them to join you on a short adventure walk. Play fun games on your walks to make it more fun. Our family used to play the ABC name game. We would take turns going through the alphabet saying names of people we knew. For example, Anne, Barbara, Carl, etc. You could do food or any category you like. You can also do a mini treasure hunt with them. Write down five things they must find on the walk – a cool rock, a stick, leaf, feather, etc. Always be sure to be prepared before you go outside – that means a hat, sunscreen, bug spray, a water bottle and appropriate clothing for the weather.
Your child will benefit from a nature walk by meeting new friends
If you’re out and about for a walk in your local neighbourhood or park, you might run into another child that you know. There is nothing more fun than an impromptu play date. Alternatively, you might run into some new animal friends! If you are out for a walk in a forest or grassy area, you’ll no doubt run into all kinds of bugs, like lady bugs and maybe even a butterfly or two. If you’re in an area close to a pond or other body of water, you might meet a new froggy friend! Seeing these creatures allows your child to learn more about them, where they live, what they eat and what kind of weather they like. It’s so important that children learn to be kind to animals and treat them as they would want to be treated. Not to mention, outdoor animals can be pretty neat to see up close, like this frog!
See environmentalism in action
A sad reality might be that you will see a lot of garbage and debris on your nature walk. Don’t worry though, this is an excellent opportunity for your child to learn about recycling and proper garbage disposal. All parks and open areas should have garbage and recycling bins and your child can take the chance to learn about taking care of the world they live in, not only for themselves but for everyone around them. Your child can be a good global citizen by becoming an environmentalist at any age!
Walking it off actually works
Not only will your child’s physical health benefit from a nature walk but it also helps with mental health. Even at young ages, children deal with a lot of stress. Depending on their age, they might not have the proper tools or techniques to deal with the range of strong emotions. Taking a walk can aid your child in clearing their head. It can help calm them before being encouraged to talk through whatever the problem may be. Taking a walk with your child is a low-risk alternative to your child dealing with their emotion in any other unhealthy way. Like getting mad at a sibling or parent or holding their emotions inside. Fresh air and a little exercise might be helpful in a lot of these scenarios.
Curiosity is key
Always encourage your child to ask you lots of questions on your nature hike! Ask them to use all their senses to discover the world surrounding them. You can fill them in with tidbits about what kind of trees and plants they’re seeing and how the weather works. This gives children the chance to open themselves up to self-discovery as well. The more they know about the world around them, the more they can learn about their place in it. And will help them develop a respect for the nature around them.
When in doubt for an activity to do with your kids, opt for the educational and healthy option of taking a nature walk! It’s an accessible way to bond with your children and get them away from their screens, which is an added advantage!