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Each year, we jump from relaxing summertime to the stress of a new school year. Between homework, balancing extracurricular activities, and changes in weather, we can forget to prioritize outdoor time. It’s important that we make time for our kids to enjoy nature in the great outdoors since it can help reduce stress and bring a sense of calm. Our children need a break after school and on the weekends from their schoolwork and extra-curricular activities. Nature is the perfect break.
Here are five easy ways to keep your 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 entertaining ways to get your kids to play 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 how to get your kids excited about gardening and how to create a meditation garden for your entire family to enjoy. 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 working on science kits and 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.
- Challenge Your Family. Give your kids an outdoors challenge to see how many days in a row they can spend time outside for at least 30 minutes. Some other ideas include hiking, swimming and other water activities, gymnastics, and yoga. This is a fun challenge to help your family appreciate nature more and have some good, old-fashioned family time!
If you are ever stuck inside because of bad weather or other issues preventing you from getting outside, you can still enjoy the benefits of nature. Learn how your family can do this.
How will you keep your family connected to nature this school year?