Here in Florida we are a few weeks into the new school year already, and I know a lot of my friends up north just dropped their kids off for the first day of school earlier this week. No matter where you live, homework and packed schedules will soon take over your children’s lives and the stress will start creeping in.
However, we can’t forget to take some time out and enjoy the great outdoors, as we know that spending time in nature can help reduce stress and bring a sense of calm into our lives. Our children need a break after school and on the weekends from their schoolwork and extra-curricular activities.
Here are 5 easy ways to keep our children connected to nature even in the midst of the busy school year:
- Play Outside. Even if your children have recess at school, they still need additional time to unwind after school and on the weekend. And I am not talking about sports practice. Children need unstructured free play to be creative and let loose with their friends or siblings. Let them jump rope, blow bubbles, and make their own obstacle courses. Here are five creative ways to get your children outside.
- Volunteer. Both volunteer work and spending time in nature help reduce stress in our lives, so why not combine these ideas by participating in community service projects as a family that help our environment? Check out these hands-on volunteer projects that your children can do to help improve and protect the environment.
- Grow a Family Garden. Gardening is a great way to encourage our children to spend more time outside in nature. It is also a way to instill an appreciation for where food comes from and the work involved in making every meal we enjoy. Learn more about how you can grow and prepare your own meals with tools from Healthy Kids Inc. Also, share the fabulous book Rachel’s Day In The Garden with your children to get them excited about gardening with you.
- Choose School Projects That Involve Nature. There are so many ways that we can incorporate nature into schoolwork. For example, if your child has an art project, take them outside to recreate a nature scene or go on a nature hunt and put together a collage of leaves, sticks, flowers, and other items they collect. Enhance their school lessons by taking them to local museums or nature centers that cover the topics their teacher is addressing. Simple experiences like going to a farmer’s market to learn firsthand about farming or gazing at the stars in the evening sky can enhance what they are learning at school. The best part is when they experience nature for themselves, they will gain a greater appreciation for what they are learning and be in awe of the world around them. Check out these creative ways to teach about conservation and read Trish’s Fall Photography with your kids.
- Challenge Your Family. Sign up for the 7 Day Outdoors Family Challenge by We’ll Eat You Up We Love You So blog. You’ll receive 7 days worth of activities to do with your kids that will get you outside, help your family appreciate nature more, and have good, old-fashioned family time!
How will you keep your family connected to nature this school year?