Children don’t need much to develop a deep love for nature and the outdoors. It’s in their genetic make-up to connect, engage and explore the wild world beyond our front doors. The key to building this strong connection with the outdoors is to start at the beginning of a child’s life.
We, as adults, know what a remedy getting outside is. It can boost our mood, decrease anxiety and contribute to a greater sense of peace, clarity and oneness. It’s no different for children, who love nothing more than getting out into nature.
Often parents feel pressure to fill their children’s schedules with structured activities and classes. Whilst this can have a positive impact for kids, it can also overwhelm them – leaving little time for free play or being in the outdoors. We live in an increasingly busy world and nature time is the perfect antidote to all manner of woes. There’s no such thing as too much exposure to nature.
Many children are growing up disconnected to nature’s magic as a result of too much over stimulation. We’re seeing a huge rise in ADD and anxiety in kids. With more screen time and less down time, children need a connection to nature more than ever. Having a background in Steiner education, I believe it is so important for a child’s mental, physical and emotional health to spend time outdoors.
Here are some of SunChild’s favourite ways to encourage nature play:
ORGANISE AN OUTDOOR PLAY DATE. TAKE YOUR KIDS AND A FEW OF THEIR FRIENDS TO A PARK, BEACH OR LAKE. WATCH THEM COOPERATE AND INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER AND THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.
ALLOW YOUR KIDS TO INCORPORATE NATURAL RESOURCES INTO PLAY. THIS MIGHT INCLUDE TREE STUMPS FOR JUMPING OFF, BOULDERS TO CLIMB AND SIT ON, LOGS TO PRACTICE BALANCING OR CLIMBING. PLUS PLANTS, SAND, GRAVEL AND WOOD FOR JUMPING OVER, WALKING THROUGH AND THROWING.
PRETEND YOU’RE ON A NATURE HUNT, COLLECTING ALL THE MAGICAL OUTDOOR TREASURES ON THE WAY (SHELLS, LEAVES, FLOWERS ETC.)
SET A TIMER FOR A MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF SCREEN TIME. HAVE YOUR KIDS SPEND LESS TIME WATCHING TV OR USING THE COMPUTER AND MORE TIME OUTSIDE. THE MOMENT THEY ARE OUTDOORS, THEY’RE IN HEAVEN, ALLOWING THEIR IMAGINATIONS TO RUN WILD!
PLANT A GARDEN OR FLOWERS WITH YOUR CHILD.
MAKE NATURE JARS WITH YOUR MINI DAVID ATTENBOROUGH AND FILL THEM WITH AMAZING TREASURES THEY FIND WHEN EXPLORING OUTSIDE, ENDLESS FUN!
EXPLORE NATURE WITH YOUR CHILDREN – BE EXCITED AND ENGAGED, AND THEY WILL BE TOO!
REMIND THEM IT’S OKAY TO GET WET, DIRTY AND MESSY. KIDS LOVE TO PLAY IN ALL THE ELEMENTS – IT’S SO IMPORTANT FOR THEIR SENSORY DEVELOPMENT.
Our mission is to raise connected, conscious kids in a modern, media-filled world. We believe this begins with the love of nature, which is ultimately the love of self.
Why not take your SunChild affirmation deck out into nature and choose a card together. With each affirmation, we come home to nature in our thought of the day, supporting their love of the Earth from the start. SunChild is a tool to help you raise nature-loving kids.
Keep your light shining (and your garden growing),
Charlotte, SunChild Founder x