Becoming One With Nature
Kids are spending less and less time outside, partly due to the increase in technology use. While there’s nothing wrong with computers or video games, it’s important for your kids to learn balance. There are so many benefits to being out in nature aside from fresh air and exercise.
The colors of nature are shown to reduce tension and ease anxiety, and interacting with living things can teach responsibility (if you mistreat a living thing it will die). Engaging with nature is the perfect opportunity for your kids to learn about plants and animals. Kids love nonfiction books about nature, so investing in some reference books that will help them identify insects, plants, and animals can help encourage them to get outside. They’ll love learning random facts about God’s creatures and it’s fun for them to try and identify the things that they see.
Learn Cooperative Skills
Outdoor play tends to be much less structured than indoor play. This provides opportunities for creative exploration and problem solving. When kids play outdoors, they’re much more likely to make up games and build things themselves. This sort of play requires them to work cooperatively with others and build skills such as turn taking, independence, and self-advocacy. This sort of play also helps build responsibility as they are more independent when they’re outdoors by themselves or with less parental supervision than might otherwise occur when they’re inside.
How You Can Help Your Child Make The Most Of It
Some parents are uncomfortable allowing their children to play outside. Fears of bugs, germs, predators, or their child hurting themselves can dissuade parents from allowing their kids to play outside. However, no matter how hard you try you cannot protect your child from everything.
Being outside can actually help improve your child’s immune system. They can wear bug spray and sunscreen. You can teach them how to stay safe. By being over protective you can actually hinder your child’s development and shield them from valuable experiences. Let them run around, get dirty, enjoy the sunshine and the rain. Give them freedom. Playing outside won’t be any fun if they aren’t allowed to run, dig, climb, and just be kids. Invite their friends over to play for a whole day (short play dates aren’t really long enough for them to engage). Take a day trip to the beach. Go outside yourself. Play flashlight tag as a family after the sun goes down. There are so many opportunities for your child to grow as an individual and to grow as a family.
At St. Barnabas Episcopal School we recognize the value of time spent outdoors. This is why we have always implemented daily outdoor recess time, as well as regular field trips that often involve outdoor time. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a tour.