Friday, August 3, 2018

5 Ways to Get the Family Involved in Nature

There are numerous reasons why you should encourage those around you to explore nature, especially your children. Reducing stress, encouraging co-operation and compassion, helping them with their homework and thinking more creatively are just a few of the valid reasons why your kids should be spending their free time outside in green spaces. There are also many vital health benefits such as improved immunity, better eyesight and stronger muscles and bones. If you’re wondering how you can encourage them to put down their mobile gadgets and get outside, here are a few ideas.
 
Indian Echo Caverns, Hershey PA - 2015
Build a Garden Pond
Introduce a water feature into your garden, and you’ll be amazed at the nature it encourages to visit! Young children, in particular, will need constant supervision around any water but this is an ideal opportunity for you to teach them what you know about wildlife. Building a pond doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair; companies such as Water-garden.co.uk can provide all you need to get the project underway.

Take Them Insect Hunting
Ask most kids, and they’ll say they think insects are cool. They might make your skin crawl, but for your kids, insects have the opposite effect. Encourage them out in the garden, armed with a magnifying glass. You’ll have to keep them company though, just in case they encounter something not very friendly! Talk to them about the colours of the insects they find, where they might live and whether they bite or sting. Take their observations back inside and do some research and maybe start a insect album.  

Nature Photography
This is a way of combining their love of the latest gadgets with spending time outdoors. There are some important benefits when kids spend more time in the open air, getting up close and personal with nature. As well as bringing them closer to nature, photography will also give them a sense of purpose and introduce them to a new hobby.
New River Gorge, WV - 2017

Set up a Nature Window in Your Home
It’s possible to bring nature into your home by creating a nature window in your living room or kitchen. In the window, you can have a pair of binoculars or maybe a beginner’s telescope for looking at the stars. Stock it with nature books and a bird identification book. If the weather allows, pitch a tent in the garden. Take a walk around some of the wilder parts of your neighborhood and see what’s lurking in the weeds at the edge of your local park or playground.

Use Apps to Make it More Interesting
If you can’t convince your kids to put their smartphone down, encourage them to use one of the many nature apps that are available. For example, there’s one that will help them identify birdsong. Another will help them learn the names of trees when they upload an image of a leaf. If they’re more interested in the greater universe, many apps will help them to identify stars, planets, and constellations.

It’s a big wide world out there beyond your front door so why not encourage your kids to take advantage of it? As well as the many personal benefits, teaching them respect for the environment is an important lesson to learn for their future.   
Lake Arthur Regatta - Moraine State Park, PA 2014
Lake Arthur Regatta - Moraine State Park, PA 2014
Lake Arthur Regatta - Moraine State Park, PA 2014

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