The great outdoors. You love it and you want your kids to love it as well. And why not! According to research referenced in a Washington Post article, “spending time in nature has tremendous benefits, including improved concentration, better motor coordination, improved overall cognitive functioning and a greater ability to engage in creative play”. Who does not want that for their kids?!
So how do you get your little ones interested in the outdoors? Simple really – give them experiences that make them want to do it again and again! And you don’t have to go to one of our great National Parks – although they are wonderful – or on an expensive holiday to do it. You can spark that love of the outdoors right in your own garden! Here are five things to do in the garden to get the little ones interested in the outdoors:
Backyard Camping: The fastest and cheapest way to introduce your kids to the fun and wonder of the outdoors is to organise a backyard camp out. Whether you go all out with a tent or simply tie a hammock between two trees or throw some sleeping bags on the ground, a backyard campout is easy and fun for all. And once the sun goes down and you’re snuggled into your sleeping bags, the nights sky will provide you with an adventure that can last a lifetime: stargazing. You will have the best luck when the moon is fuller and when it is darker in your immediate surroundings.
Butterfly Garden: Did you know that there is such a thing as butterfly gardening? It simply means creating an environment that will attract butterflies. Pretty cool right. There are lots of resources online that can help you design and build your own. Or you can always order a kit from Amazon! And then watch the transformation of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly!
Fairy Houses: Remember the magic of Tinker Bell from Peter Pan’s world of Neverland? Why not bring a little bit of that magic to your back garden and into the life of your little one. They say that building a fairy house will attract fairies to your garden. Whether that is true or not, designing and building one will certainly introduce a sense of wonder.
Bean Pole Teepees: These creations help you kill two birds with one stone – building support for your pole beans and creating a fabulous hiding spot for kids to play in all summer long. However, building a bean pole teepee is not for the weak hearted; it does require some skill. So be sure to plan it out in advance. Remember that kids have a fairly short attention span so you don’t want to lose them while you are losing the battle with the teepee!
Bug Hunting: Goggles, magnifying glasses, bug hut, bug book…. All the things you need to go on your first bug hunt! As with most things, you can either build your kit yourself with things you have around the house or buy a bug hunting kit already made. Regardless of which way you go, you will likely want a book about bugs to help guide you and your kids on your hunt. Alternatively, you can find the bugs and then try to find them online using google! Just remember to teach your kids to treat all living things with respect!
These are just five ideas to get your started. There are likely 500 ways to get your kids interested in the outdoors and what a gift that is! So get out to the back garden! Create adventures for you and your kids! And spark a love of the outdoors that will bring them happiness for the rest of their lives.
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