Exposing your children to nature doesn’t mean you have to turn into a hippie, wildlife loving kind of parent, walking barefoot on the grass and going with the flow of the day. Taking time out of everyone’s full schedules to get your kids out into nature requires real planning and a level of commitment, especially when your kids would rather play with a gadget than look at a patch of green grass. (Here are some ideas for low effort outdoor adventures.)
And yet, exposing your kids to nature and all of its perfect imperfections is a way of arming them with powerful tools – tools they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. There is much that nature can do for us all. The following are seven significant reasons to convince you to make more time for it.
From stunning views witnessed from a cliffs’ edge to a river swirling amid sky high trees, nature is loaded with beauty and empty of distractions. When there are no gadgets in sight, your kids will easily fall into the act of daydreaming and learn to wonder about the impossible and to dream big.
Being cooped up in school and at home all week can make their problems seem far more serious, but when in nature, kids can learn there is more to the world than what they normally see. Accordingly, nature can be a refuge from cyberbullies, from school pressure, and other worries they face.
From the way a tree trunk grows to the manner in which the weather can suddenly change, nature is full of uncertainties. Having your kids spend time in nature is a way of teaching them how to adapt to the uncertainties they come across, and learn to make something beautiful out of an unexpected twist of events.
Every day can be infused with that vacation-like feel if you spend time with your kids in nature. We all feel more connected after a holiday because we tend to stop and look around us. This same feeling can be fostered in nature. Your kids can form a stronger connection with you when you slowing down time by being more present.
Riding bikes on a bumpy trail and climbing trees will ignite a love of adventure in your kids. When outside, we need to move and to explore; it comes with the territory. This will lead to you and your kids moving more and being more physically fit as a result.
When children spend time in nature, they develop great respect for the environment. They learn to value it and, in turn, want to take care of it. It may begin by not stepping on insects or not littering. When we raise kids who are compassionate towards the environment, we are creating human beings who value kindness towards other creatures. We are also raising their awareness of a world that is larger than them. These are qualities we can never have enough of.
If for no other reason, nature gives kids, and us as well, a sense of freedom that becomes addicting once you get used to it. In nature, there is no judgment. Your kids can run without fears of being hit by a car. They can hide and daydream or try to keep up with a bird hopping from one tree to the other. Freedom is infectious and it often leads to another valuable feeling – happiness.