If your children are anything like my toddler then you’ll have a hard time keeping them indoors, but when the weather turns cooler and wetter the enthusiasm levels can wain in even the hardiest of outdoor explorers. Dawn Ashlie has put together some great tips on ways to encourage children to fall in love with nature again, whatever the season…
Playing outside gives a wide range of benefits for your child, from physical to mental to even broadening their social skills. Mommies Magazine listed some of the positive effects from playing outside such as improving the immune system, enhancing imagination and getting along better with friends.
But how would you reap these results when your child doesn’t want to go outside in the first place? To help you get your child up on his/her feet and head outdoors, here are some tips you can put into practice.
A backyard can be a good spot to set up an outdoor play area for your child. Encourage him/her to play outside by building things like tree houses or “secret bases”. These can also be used as great alternatives for tents when camping.
For a more cost-friendly approach, how about hiding small treats in jars and hiding or burying them in your garden or nearby outdoor areas. Then draw a treasure map and let your child embark on a treasure hunt.
You can also play with your child by challenging him/her to an outdoor “Bring Me” game. Ask for items such as flowers, specifically coloured pebbles, differently shaped leaves, etc.
Give your child tools, such as toy shovels and magnifying glasses. A child’s natural curiosity and desire for outdoor exploration can be triggered when he/she has these items to play with.
According to Child Alert UK, toddlers love to hide and surprise adults. Finding areas with good hiding spaces will allow them to fully act on this innate quality.
Parenting resource site PBS Parents suggests practicing “hummingbird parenting” which is to allow your child to have his/her own autonomy to play, intervening only when necessary. Being strict all the time, and always monitoring your child like a hawk can discourage them from venturing outside.
Lastly, take advantage of the natural resources around you. If you’re living near a lake or river, you can take your child fishing or kayaking. When you’re near highlands, on the other hand, hiking or trail biking are just two great activities for you and your child.
Just ensure to practice proper safety. For instance, when playing in dirt or soil, make sure that the ground hasn’t been treated with toxic substances like pesticides.
Let your child wear durable clothing as well. Good fabrics include Turkish cotton and wool. Unisex children’s clothing line Tootsa claim that strong natural fibres such as the aforementioned cotton and wool used on their ranges are built to withstand a child’s active lifestyle. Thus, seeking out clothing that fits their endeavours and are designed to last is of paramount importance.
Additionally, apparel with these kinds of durable fabrics are more practical in the long run, considering they last for years. They can even be handed down when your child has outgrown them. And contrary to popular belief, they can be machine washed as well. You just have to know the proper ways, through guides such as the one shared by Clean Organised Family Home.
As a final reminder, always check the surroundings for sharp or other potentially harmful objects. When doing activities like camping, fishing or hiking, don’t forget to arm yourself with proper protection such as some bug spray.
Getting your child to play outside will have many long lasting benefits, especially to their health. However, you must be prepared to encourage them as much as possible and participate in pursuits to keep them active, energetic and playful for them to reap greater benefits.