The advantages of getting your kid into the great outdoors and connecting with nature have some obvious (and less obvious) benefits. As ahaparenting.com explain, fresh air and exercise will nurture ‘not only their bodies but their connection to all of life – and to each other’ with benefits including calmer, happier & healthier children who are better students, more creative and (here’s the less obvious benefit) have better vision!
So, you know you should get your child outdoors but, once there, how do you engage them in it? This article by the Washington Post has some great suggestions:
1 – Inspire curiosity by being curious yourself
2 – Simply be in nature with no other distractions
3 – Limit electronic devices while commuting (encourage looking out the window at the clouds or trees)
4 – Seek out natural, untouched spaces and return often to them (to see how they change with the seasons)
5 – Make time for unstructured outdoor play
6 – Stop thinking about nature time as leisure time (think of it as an essential investment in your child’s health)
7 – Read about nature with your child
8 - Plant a small garden (to teach about food and the wonders of growth)
Or, as the ahaparenting.com blog suggests, take them on a nature walk or a scavenger hunt! Sounds fun, right? How about making that experience even more epic by throwing in some snow and a winter wonderland?
Here at Callaghan Country, we have developed a neat little snowshoe scavenger hunt on our Treasure Trail to help engage kids in nature this Spring Break (& we’ll be running it for the rest of the winter season too!). Just pop into the Alexander Falls Touring Base front desk and pick up a free Scavenger Hunt question sheet, grab some snowshoes from our rental shop and head out onto the Treasure Trail with your youths! As you meander through our snowy forest wonderland, gazing at the curious looking lichen or investigating mysterious animal tracks in the snow, you will find a series of fun facts about our local flora, fauna and other intriguing tidbits such as the evolution of snowshoeing (have you heard of the historical Battle on Snowshoes? Find out about it on our Scavenger Hunt…!). Successfully complete the Scavenger Hunt using these fun facts and you’ll receive a tasty little prize! Now, if that's not incentive to get out and into nature, then i'm not sure what is!