As parents we know kids benefit from more time outside and less on screens, and when we can make this happen it is so worthwhile.
“When kids spend time engaging with nature, they grow up caring about the environment and with a deeper sense of empathy for the world,” says Delyse Sylvester, creator of the Whole Family Happiness Project, a movement that aims to connect moms with their purpose in order to create happier families.
Here are seven ways you can help nurture your kids love of nature:
- Start a new habit. Take a walk, talk about the trees and plants you see in your neighbourhood — look for squirrels and other wildlife. Make it local and personal, so your kids see nature all around.
2. Pick up picture books with natural themes from your local library. Talk about the animals, bugs, and plants featured inside.
3. Encourage curiosity about bugs and creepy crawlies, even if they freak you out. Being scared of snakes, mice, or spiders etc is learned behaviour — keep it to yourself so your children are fascinated, not repulsed.
4. Try a new activity that gets you outside — like kayaking or snowshoeing. Many municipalities offer free equipment rentals and organized family excursions throughout the year, check their websites for opportunities in your area.
5. Embrace bad weather. Kids love puddles, catching snowflakes on their tongue, and glorious mud! With appropriate clothing, any day is a good day to get outside and play.
6. Grow something together. Whether a backyard garden or herbs grown in on the windowsill, gardening is a great teaching tool that brings a lot of joy to your littles.
7. Put down your phone and be fully present when in nature with your kids. Being outside is a fantastic antidote to screen-time, so don’t set a bad example for them to mirror.
Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based freelance writer, bartender, and assistant editor of the Whole Family Happiness Project. She lives in Halifax, with her son and a penchant for really strong tea, yoga, hammocks, and hoppy beer.
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The Whole Family Happiness Project is a group of moms exploring our connection to our individual purpose, our family happiness, and the happiness of the world around us. Come join us on Facebook.