Valuing The Outdoors
The benefits of being outdoors are widely known and accepted. This can including minimising illnesses, building a respect for nature, gross and fine motor developments, enhancing social complicity when engaging with others, as well as instilling an overall sense of calm.
Here are some ideas to encourage your children to be outside more often:
- Gardening – children often inherently love to help. Gear them up with gardening gloves (or not if you’re ok with soil in nails!) and showing them how to weed, harvest and plant.
- Bug hunt – explore your garden and see what wildlife you can find. Ladybugs? Ants? Snails? Worms?
- Cloud watching – on a day with beautiful cloud formation, simply lay on the ground and see what images you can make out of the clouds. I also like to add paper on clipboards and black textas so we can draw the images we see.
- Messy play – often partaking in messy play outdoors can lead to less clean up making it much more appealing! This could be sand, mud, water, pasta or anything else you’re both comfortable with.
- Scavenger hunt – create a list (simple words or visuals) and work with your child to see if they can find all of the items.
- Ball games – dig through the toy box and see if you can facilitate a game of cricket, or catch, or soccer or anything else that comes to mind. This can also be beneficial to support turn taking.
- Picking flowers – perhaps you can find and pick flowers in your neighbourhood and even leave them as a treat for a neighbour.
- Reading – enjoying stories does not just need to happy indoors. Perhaps you can curl up under a tree and share some stories with your child.
- Meals – eating meals outdoors can help in making for a much more relaxed event as the sound isn’t bouncing off the dining room walls! If you have dogs like me, eating outside is also great for reducing the clean up!
- Splashing in puddles – predictions say we are in for a wet summer. Dress your child in a raincoat and gum boots and let them go nuts. There’s something to be said for how liberating it can be to jump in puddles.
Instill a sense of respect and love for nature in your children, and watch that love and respect grow.