Dads have a reputation for being playful parents. Kids run to them when it comes to having fun. But with today’s technology and parents being busy, the children run to their phones or computers to get entertained. As fathers, you need to find creative ways to balance your kids’ screen time with outdoor activities, which help develop their love for nature.
Children who spend more time outdoors are physically healthier, have better cognitive and social development, and have better sensory skills and increased attention spans. Here are four ways to encourage your kids to be nature fans.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Kids fancy finding treasures. A scavenger hunt is a perfect activity to lead them outdoors. Create a theme they can’t resist, such as their favorite cartoons and storybooks and make them search for items found in those stories. And don’t forget to reward them with prize items or their favorite ice cream.
Tips to Remember:
- Pick a safe location. Your backyard is a perfect spot. Nearby parks will do, too. Also, get your spouse on board. Four eyes to watch over your kids during games is better than two.
- Prepare your list of treasures to find or tasks to accomplish. Tasks can be naming five characters in the story, solving riddles or completing the famous lines.
- It’s best to play this game in the morning so the kids get ample Vitamin D and everyone has enough time to enjoy.
- Explain the rules and safety guidelines to avoid accidents. How do you get the attention of these super active kids? Say they’ll receive bonus points or prizes if they pay attention.
Overall, an outdoor scavenger hunt is an enriching educational experience and a great physical activity for kids to get moving instead of sitting down all day.
Create a Garden
In as much as gardening is therapeutic for adults, it’s also great for your kids’ holistic development. They’ll learn a lot about plants, insects and how diverse an ecosystem can be, even in small gardens. Gardening involves digging, planting, and watering, so it helps develop their motor skills.
To start, give your child a small plot and help them decide which plants to grow. Simple plants you can grow in your garden include carrots, radishes, potatoes, basil and mint.
With gardening, your kids learn how to grow and care for the plants. Your parent-child bond also grows stronger. You can even turn this into a fun family ritual.
Visit a Farm
Sure, going to a zoo is fun and educational. But, visiting a farm provides a more interactive learning experience about animals and nature. Aside from seeing and touching farm animals, the children get to see how food is grown and understand agriculture.
Some farms will also allow children to plant seeds or harvest crops, giving them a more hands-on experience. This can help children better appreciate the importance of nature in their daily lives.
Farms also expose children to a variety of sensory experiences. Feeling the soil, seeing different plants and crops, and petting different animals instill empathy and a sense of wonder.
Camp in Your Backyard
Camping in the wilderness is great. But if that’s impossible due to bad weather or other circumstances, camping in your backyard will do just fine. In the children’s minds, camping is an adventure, wherever the tent stands. It’s also a simple and fun way to strengthen the bond with your child while teaching them about nature.
Prepare all the necessary camping equipment, such as tents, sleeping bags, flashlights, and some neem oil or essential oils spray for mosquito control. And, of course, don’t forget smores for snacks by the campfire.
In the afternoon and towards the sunset, you and your kids can watch, touch and identify insects that crawl on the ground, stick to tree trunks or fly around. Watch over your kids so they avoid touching harmful ones like scorpions, swarms of ants and some types of beetles. Also, teach your children to differentiate harmless bugs from home and garden pests.
Backyard camping is generally safe. Just be extra cautious if your house is near the woods or countryside. Other animals like skunks, foxes, bears and snakes can threaten your and your family’s safety. If such creatures happen to reach your property and it becomes their habit to feed on your garden or turn your garbage bins over, call a pest control expert to help you ward them off of your property.
Go Outdoors and Love Nature
In today’s fast-paced and highly advanced technological world, kids are more drawn to playing indoors and watching videos on their phones, computers or TV. It’s not a bad thing until it’s the only thing they do most of the time.
For parents, remember your sweet childhood days of playing under the sun and being one with nature. And use those fond memories to creatively influence your kids to play outdoors and learn to love nature.