Wherever you look, you can see kids immersed in tablets, TVs and smartphones, while their overly tired parents rush to finish as many chores as physically possible without any interruptions. And when kids get “hooked” to technology early on, it’s very difficult to accommodate their over-stimulated brain outside of their gadgets, let alone get them to experience the beauty of spending time outdoors.
But as parents, we can find numerous ways to inspire our kids to let go of the modern trinkets, spend more quality time with them in fresh air, and bond through challenging and creative activities that are best experienced outside of their comfy bedrooms!
Unstructured play among kids is an essential part of their social development, and regular play-dates can help your kids become better at communication, forming friendships, and strengthen their bond with their peers and siblings, as well as other family members.
They have an opportunity to learn about others, to decipher their body language and start forming behavioral patterns that are deemed socially acceptable. Spending time with their friends is an excellent way to improve their emotional intelligence and wellbeing, and help them enrich their language in time, without any effort, and through fun and games.
Young kids greatly benefit from spending time outdoors, surrounded by greenery and fresh air, even if it’s as simple as a green schoolyard according to research, as it serves as an outlet for stress, thus increasing their natural resilience, cognitive functions and overall health. Unlike dull classrooms, outdoor learning helps them get more exposure to sunlight, which in turn means more vitamin D for better immunity.
Sitting is often dubbed the smoking of the modern era, and we ought to teach our kids from a very young age that spending time outside and playing with their peers is a more natural state of being and a much more constructive way to unwind.
Every season has its perks, so sending kids to spend more time outdoors even during winter can help them stay in excellent shape, and boost their growth and health. Most of the time, kids run, jump, climb and perform other challenging movements, which helps them develop their balance, coordination, muscle and bone strength, as well as cardiovascular endurance.
If you have a little one who is still too young for such endeavors, you can go outdoors together, and carry them in their sling, walk with them, or bring them with you for a joint bike ride. Kids as young as 12 months can join you by using child bike seats, while special trailers can allow your younger babies to tag along with you. There are so many options to introduce the outdoors to your little ones, so make sure you start as early as possible!
Creativity and imagination
Outside is where the most magical things can happen from a child’s point of view! Without the confinement and limitations of a room, they have the freedom to unleash their imagination, develop incredible stories, and increase their creative capacity.
Without too many physical objects to play with, although they make for a brilliant addition to their play sessions, they can focus on their inner thought processes and overcome that feeling of boredom most kids experience as soon as you take away their techy gadgets.
Whether it’s a trip to nature, a family hike, a camping trip or a simple outing in the backyard, whenever kids spend their time outside, they have a chance to learn something new about a natural phenomenon, so brace yourself for endless questions after every single one of their outdoor excursions!
Some of the simplest park equipment such as swings and see-saws and other, more complex play trails are also great for overcoming their fears, developing problem-solving skills and spatial coordination. All of these adventures will help them be more confident, and hopefully more appreciative of Mother Nature, thus helping them grow up into kind and strong individuals that will cherish their childhood and their environment!