We can all agree that this is not a sustainable pattern and that little changes can make a big difference!
We hope that your family will take a step back from the hurried lifestyle to which we have become accustomed, and recognize the need for all of us, but especially our children, to have free time for play! Here are a few ideas to get your kids started. Once they get outside, we are pretty sure that they'll have plenty of their own ideas!
- If you live in a house, make sure your backyard is child friendly.
- Give children a basket, shelf or corner on the porch, deck or in the bedroom where they can display nature treasures that they find and want to keep. Encourage them to tell you all about it and be excited!
- Make sure they have simple tools to aid discovery, like a bug box, a small shovel, or a magnifying glass.
- When you take children to parks and other natural areas, really let them to explore. It's easy for adults to fall into forcing their children to act like adults. But this is the time to really let them explore!
- Opt to walk to get smaller errands done instead of driving.
- Notice what your kids notice. If they're curious about a landmark or plant, find out more about it!
- See what natural resources available in your area. Take children canoeing, kayaking, fishing or on a good hike.
- When you children are busy, gather a few leaves from different trees. Then, give them the leaves and have them find which trees they came from.
- If you have an appropriate area, let older children build a campfire in the backyard. Set safety rules, then stay away while they and their friends discuss hot topics. Check for safety by looking out the window or wandering out to ask if they need more snacks.
- Make up challenges for children to do outside, similar to the "Survivor" television show. This is a guaranteed kid pleaser, especially if there is a reward (a gift of time with Mom or Dad, or perhaps a night off from helping with the dishes).