Kids are spending more time than ever indoors staring at screens, which significantly impacts their early learning and development. This summer, make it a goal to help your kids connect with nature by spending more time outdoors. Time spent playing outside will give your children ample opportunity to slow down and relax, explore, and ignite a curiosity about the world around them.
Spend More Time Outdoors
If you want your kids to connect with nature, start by spending more time outdoors. Unfortunately, it’s not always practical to simply tell your kids to go play outside as parents of past decades have done. You may need to plan a bit more to give your children plenty of time in nature, but the early learning benefits are well worth it.
Consider incorporating a daily walk, whether in the morning or evening, into your routine this summer. Other great options include spending time at a local park, camping in your backyard, or taking weekend trips that include plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, kayaking, and more.
Allow Unstructured Exploration
Although spending time in nature may take a little more planning than before, try to avoid forcing yourselves into a strict itinerary. Instead, let go of any schedules or expectations and let your kids explore freely. Whether they want to splash in puddles on a rainy day or want to stop to look for worms on a hiking trail, let them.
Let them take risks, too. It’s hard to stand back and watch your child do something that might scare them or cause a minor scrape, but risk-taking is an essential component in early learning and development as kids learn to test their own limits. So allow them to take risks within reason and learn from their mistakes.
Lead by Example
As with almost every other aspect of child rearing, you must lead by example if you want your children to connect with nature. The more time you spend inside watching TV or staring at a computer screen, the more likely your kids are to do the same. If you find yourself complaining about the weather or other less-than-desirable conditions, remember that your kids will likely follow suit.
Instead, find an outdoor activity you enjoy, like biking or hiking, and get your kids involved at the earliest age possible. You can put your little one in a buggy behind your bicycle and take them on rides or strap them in a baby carrier for your next hike. Bringing your kids along presents challenges, but the more they’re exposed to the outdoors, the better connection they’ll have later in life.
If you want your child’s early learning to include plenty of time exploring nature, Tutor Time Child Care, a preschool in Plymouth, MI, can help with this endeavor. Their curriculum includes a “NatureSmart” class that gives children the opportunity to explore the physical and living world around them. To learn more about this early learning center, visit them online or call (734) 420-2700.