Creative Child

Encouraging Kids to Enjoy Nature

by Sarah Lyons on Jul 21st, 2016

In the digital age, families are spending more time inside and less exploring nature. Studies show that kids who spend time outside have better overall health and fitness levels, report better vision, less stress and depression, and are more likely to have good social skills. The National Wildlife Federation also reports that spending time outside raises levels of Vitamin D, helping protect children from future bone problems, while reducing risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues.

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As kids spend more and more time watching TV and playing video games on a daily basis, only about 10 percent of kids say they are spending time outdoors every day. If your kids fall into the 90% of children that don’t get out every day, here are some outdoor activities for kids to change that. 

Become a Nature Artist

Kids will begin to notice the beauty in nature if they are observing it from an artist’s perspective. For an artistic outdoor activity for kids, bring the easel and art supplies out to the park and have the kids paint or draw what they see around them.

Let the kids try their hand at photography while exploring nature by photographing plants, insects, and the landscape around them. You can also try making sunprints on a sunny day. Later make a scrapbook or frame their masterpieces.

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Get Dirty

There are some outdoor activities for kids that require very little structure or planning. Dress the kids in play clothes and give them permission to enjoy nature even if they get a little dirty. Making messes is an essential part of growth and development for children. Allow kids to dig for worms, lift rocks to find insects, and try fishing.

Grow a Garden

Teach kids about gardening while letting them plant flowers, vegetables, and other plants. Kids that grow up planting and gardening develop a lifelong positive relationship with plants and trees. You can start small with a porch garden if your house or apartment doesn’t lend itself an expansive garden.

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Get Comfortable

Collect some old pillows and blankets, bring them outside, and get comfortable. Stop and admire flowers, sunsets, scenery, while you spend time outside. Simply being outdoors can help kids grow to appreciate nature. Observe your surroundings and talk about what you see and hear. Read a book, take a nap, and observe the cloud shapes. A great book for encouraging creativity when looking at cloud shapes is It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw. 

Have a Picnic

Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal outside after a hike. Without the distractions of the normal surroundings of your home, conversation will be easier and more fun.

More outdoor activities for kids on page 2...

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