The nature of childhood has dramatically shifted over the past century. One hundred years ago, children spent more time outdoors, either helping with chores or playing. Even forty or so years ago, before screens became so popular, children were outside more often than today. As children have moved indoors, their health has declined. Some experts believe that creativity is reduced today from a few years ago. Getting children back into nature offers many benefits. Although watching ocean documentaries on Netflix can seem like one way to get kids excited about nature, there are some better ideas to help kids reconnect with the outdoors.
Why Get Kids Outside?
Kids need fresh air and sunshine, but there are many other benefits to outside play.
- Spending time outside helps develop a healthy immune system.
- Learning about nature teaches empathy, curiosity, social skills and patterns.
- Connecting to nature can inspire a love of learning.
- Children who spend time in nature are better stewards of the environment.
Tips For Getting Children Outside
In today’s world, it’s not safe to just put kids outside to play like parents did in the past. To help kids connect with nature, it takes a targeted approach.
If you want your children to enjoy nature, you need to provide the space. In San Diego, tide pools for kids offer hours of engagement and discovery. Take your kids to the forest, to the beach, to the mountains or to the farm. Get on a boat and enjoy a whale watching cruise. Hike into the wilderness and explore the quiet. Young children just enjoy getting into the back yard and learning about gardening or playing in a mud puddle.
Use Opportunities to Explore Learning
Don’t try to adhere to an agenda. The best learning opportunities arise out of a child’s curiosity. Take your kids to an orchard and ask questions that nurture their curiosity. “Why are the apples red?” “How do we know when they’re ripe?,” and so forth. See what your kids are interested in and follow that path instead of your own agenda.
Reflect on Your Memories
Children learn in the moment, but the learning cycle doesn’t stop there. Reflection on what they did and saw is the second step in the learning process. You can complement their learning experience by talking about what they did and what they thought about. Help them cement their memories by scrapbooking or journaling. Bring the outdoor activities inside.
Keep It Fun
Getting kids to connect about nature shouldn’t be a chore. Find ways to make it engaging without being a struggle. Whale watching things to do with kids ideas, can be a great stepping stone to get kids involved with nature while having fun. Not every minute needs to be exciting, but your times should be positive. You may need to change how you interact with nature based on the weather, season or time of day.
Explore your children’s passions by getting them outside to connect with the world around them. A whale-watching adventure is just the ticket to see the bigger picture.