How To Help Young Children Enjoy And Learn From Nature
Tips for Outdoor Summer Fun from Generation Wild
By Victoria Nava-Watson, Communications Officer, Great Outdoors Colorado
In a world where technology is deeply integrated into the fabric of everyday life, it’s no surprise that there is a growing disconnect between kids and the outdoors. Research studies show that the average kid spends less than seven minutes a day outside in unstructured play (SEVEN. MINUTES!)—and an average of seven hours a day in front of a screen. It’s an eye-opening problem that most people can rally against.
Why play outside?
Spending time outdoors is critical to kids’ health and their mental, physical, and emotional development. Studies show that kids who spend time outside have reduced stress and anxiety levels, build stronger immune systems, have higher levels of concentration, and have heightened levels of creativity and imagination. Spending time outside also helps kids build self-reliance and has been linked to reduced symptoms of ADHD.
Turn off the screens
We realize it’s not always easy to get kids to turn off the computer or put down the game controller. We also realize that it can be overwhelming to constantly search for ways to get your kids outside. Which is why we’ve assembled some parenting strategies to help get kiddos off the couch and out the backdoor. Some tips:
- Move a favorite indoor activity outside. Sounds simple, right? It is! Bring your kids’ books, coloring supplies or toys outside. Being in an outdoor environment will encourage them to play in a new way.
- Make outdoor time family time. Kids really just want to spend time with YOU, their parents or loved ones. Schedule an activity you can do together—like a walk, picnic or park visit—to incorporate Mother Nature into your family routine.
- Different places at different times = different adventures. The same place—whether your own yard, a local park, or a lake or forest—can be totally transformed during different parts of the year or even different times of the day.
Not sure where to go? Start in your own backyard or outdoor space near your home. Adventure can be found anywhere! Using items that can be found around the house, these easy-to-follow videos will get you and your family outside and having fun:
Whether you decide to walk around your neighborhood, go bird watching or hit a local trail, remember to practice the recommended social distancing and safety guidelines in your county and to practice Leave No Trace Principles to help keep our outdoor spaces beautiful.
For more information and ideas on how to make outdoor time more accessible, fun and safe, we invite you to visit Generation Wild's website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.