During summer vacation, it’s natural for parents to want to try to get the kids out of the house so they can soak up the sun and entertain themselves for a while. But the truth is kids should be heading outside all year round because doing so gives them a chance to exercise, and the greenery is great for their mental health.
If you’re struggling to find activities to keep your kids busy out there, we’re here to help. We’ve got a ton of fun crafts you can try, as well as some of the many reasons why getting your kids outside is one of the most important things you can do.
Getting outside as often as possible is necessary, especially when you’re a kid. The sunlight provides vitamin D that creates strong bones, outdoor exercise helps with muscle strength and motor skills. In group outdoor activities, kids get a chance to communicate with others, which is essential for social development. The benefits of outside play are so incredible that doctors are now adding outside play as part of the prescriptions for children with chronic health issues.
Nature therapy has also been proven to have distinct mental health benefits. The practice involves getting outside, either by alone or with a group, so you can return to the natural environment that can so quickly put your mind at ease. Nature therapy can be as simple as walking down a path in the forest while you think about your issues and sort through them. Basically, nature provides a healthy distraction so you aren’t so focused on your other problems.
While they may not knowingly be going outside for mental health benefits, kids will reap the same rewards. Encourage them to go outside and they’ll continue to spend time in nature as they get older and develop into well-rounded adults.
So, now that you know why it’s so important to get outside, let’s talk about some crafts. By walking out the front door, you can find natural items that can be repurposed into something awesome. When fall comes around, kids can use leaves to create artistic portraits of themselves and their family members. Use twigs and bark for the hands, add some color with paint or crayons, and then add some googly eyes to a give bit of personality.
You can also introduce kids to gardening by repurposing items around the house into small planters. Just about anything can be turned into a planter, from wooden pallets and old chairs to rubber boots and discarded tires. Dress it up with some paint or crayons, then add dirt, plant a seed or an existing flower, and your kids can admire it every day when they go outside.
Crafts like these are a great way to help your kids develop their growth mindset, which is their way of viewing challenges and setbacks. If, at first, their painting isn’t perfect or perhaps the planter falls over and breaks, knowing how to properly pick themselves up and try again is essential as they become adults.
It’s also worth mentioning that since we’re getting so much from the environment, it’s only fitting that we care for the planet in return. When you have leftover craft supplies, dispose of them responsibly. If you’re using paper that you cut using a shredder to create your crafts, then instead of just throwing them out and sending them to the landfill, ensure those shreds are properly recycled. You can’t add them in with your regular recyclables because the shreds will be sorted out at the plant and deemed non-recyclable. Instead, research online for a recycling facility specializing in shreds so you know you’re doing what’s right for the planet.
Although nature is already gorgeous on its own, you can use paint to make new masterpieces that honor the great outdoors. Here are just a few of the fun projects that can entertain the kids for hours:
There are also a ton of nature crafts that kids can make using fallen pine cones, acorns, and more. By adding beads, velcro, and stickers to pine cones, you can make bunnies, owls, reindeer, spiders, and more. The kids can make as many as their imagination can conjure up, and then they can make their own little pine cone zoo.
That’s just a few of the amazing crafts you and your kids can create using some paint, imagination, and the inspiration of the great outdoors. Get the children outside, let them play around, and watch in astonishment as they create something extraordinary.