They’re at it again. You can see your kid’s heads bent over electronics, a series of beeps, whistles and sound effects marking the progress on their games. Or they’re texting again, fingers flying rapidly, their focus so tight on a tiny screen that they seem to have completely forgotten there’s a vast world right in front of them.
Kids love technology. And while it serves a purpose with so many great learning apps, and opportunities to explore the farthest reaches of the world right at their fingertips, we sometimes forget the value of what’s not pixelated for our pleasure. It’s high time we got the kids outside, and back into nature. For those of you with any lingering doubts, here’s why:
1. Nature exercises the Imagination. Kids who have a chance to explore nature become inquisitive about the world around them. What better place to take that curious mind than to where they can play in ways that are unbridled and unfettered by toys and electronics that too often guide the play along pre-programmed lines? Remember when every stick became a sword, and that monstrous bush became a dragon to slay? Or when trying to hop across a stream became a feat of daring, and amazing skill and bravery? That is imaginative play at its finest, and it can only happen outdoors!
2. Nature inspires movement. The only way to thoroughly explore nature is to dive into it. So, the child that hikes and climbs rocks and trees is exercising in the most natural of ways, which helps prevent childhood obesity and the related health problems of a sedentary lifestyle.
3.The exploration of nature inspires learning. Everything is a teachable moment, from asking why butterflies fly the way they do, to why the dirt is a different color in one place than another, children look at nature and want to know the how and why of it. This exploration becomes learning in the best classroom ever invented.
4. Nature helps reduce stress – and yes even kids get stressed out. Kids are struggling with this more than ever before with 49% of students reporting that they feel stressed on a regular basis. Getting out in nature has a physical effect of lowering blood pressure. Your body relaxes, and you become calm – depression and anxiety lift. All these benefits unite together to create a child that’s calm and content.
With so many reasons to go outside, it’s no wonder that your kids keep clamoring to go to the park. As an added benefit, there’s a lot of the same benefits for you as well. By taking your kids out into nature, you’re going to find that YOUR imagination and problem-solving skills just got better. And let’s face it, doesn’t it sound good to drop some stress and maybe even a pound or two?
So pack up the kids and head for the hills. It’s time to get back to nature!