Spending time outside is good for the mind, body and soul. When I was a child I didn’t have access to a computer or iPad and our television time was screened. Instead my brothers and I would build tree houses, ride our bikes and play outside for hours. We would use our imagination and build things with the leaves, pine cones and sticks we collected from our backyard. Yes we got dirty. Yes we made a mess. But boy did we have fun!
My parent’s would take us camping in the school holidays to different places like Summerset Dam, Rathdowney, Fraser Island or Double Island Point. On weekends we would go on day trips to places like Mt Tamborine, Eumundi or Byron Bay. We also spent a lot of time fishing, boating or jet skiing and as a family we often went go on hikes, rainforest walks and visited national parks. My childhood was spent enjoying nature with my family and these will always be some of my greatest memories. It’s where my love and appreciation for nature started.
Family life has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Children spend more time in front of the television or on their iPad or computer than they do being physically active outside. Nature is important to children’s development in every major way – intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically. Nature has such a positive impact on children and we should be encouraging children to spend more time outside enjoying and embracing it.
Here are some ways you can spend time outside and enjoy nature with children:
- Go on a bush walk
- Go on a picnic
- Collect shells at the beach
- Make a sand castle
- Throw pebbles into the water
- Take photographs of nature and display them in a photo book
- Bird watching
- Smell flowers
- Climb a tree
- Do a nature scavenger hunt
- Watch a sun set
- Press flowers between a book
- Go camping
- Fly a kite
- Colour sand and display layers in an empty jar
- Visit a natural waterfall
- Play in the rain
- Visit a national park
- Collect rocks, gem stones or crystals
- Visit an aquarium
- Grow herbs in a small pot
- Go for a drive to look at scenery
- Strawberry picking
- Visit a farm – milk a cow and collect chicken eggs
- Go fishing
- Visit a wildlife sanctuary
- Bike riding
- Grow your own vegetable garden
Let your children stomp in puddles, climb trees, dig in the dirt, go on a bug hunt, roll down a hill or make a garden for fairies. Playing outside makes children smarter, happier and healthier!