Connecting Your Child to Nature

Connecting Your Child to Nature

It’s summertime and whether you have a toddler or a school age kid, getting them outside and into nature is a sure fire way to see their creativity blossom and their stress disappear.

Since I’ve got school age kids, many of our afternoons are filled with getting from one activity to another, but now that schools out, we get to play in nature for hours at a time. Now that it stays lighter later, we don’t have homework or other commitments that make time feel compacted open ended outdoor play feels expansive. During these few months of the year we get nature immersion, we can live in a tent for a week, getting dirty, making up songs, hiking, watching bugs with utter fascination.

I love watching my kids unwind the longer they spend in nature. I can find a field, pop down a blanket and read and they’ll find some game, or activity that keeps them happy for hours at a time. (Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some “I’m bored” here and there, but eventually they get so into it, leaving is hard.)

It’s such a wonderful chance for all of us to unplug from everything: toys, TV, screens, phones, etc. A time to see what can happen. Plus you don’t have to go camping for a week just to see the effects. One afternoon walk in the woods can shift everyones mood for the rest of the week.

And going hiking and outside with kids has changed my perspective and open my eyes to things I started taking for granted. Their low to the ground view and ability to get wrapped up in the tiniest items they find has encouraged me to slow down and explore my surroundings in a way I haven’t done since I was little. Sometimes we make bracelets from grass, or play warriors of the forest. Sometimes it’s nap time in the grass or there’s a race to get to the top of the “mountain”.

No matter what it is, going out with my kids into nature is the best vacation, stress relief, connecting activity we do each week, and now it’s summer, we might not come home till dark- and that’s exciting too- who knows what we’ll find out there at dusk.