Nature can me a magical world of creation for kids. From creating a treehouse to exploring new terrain, there are so many possibilities and adventures waiting for them.
Times have changed. As our society gets more advanced (technologically speaking), it becomes harder and harder for some to disconnect and reconnect with nature.
For some parents, it can be a challenge just to pull their kids away from a device long enough to eat a meal. Look, it’s common nowadays and the truth is, phones can be very addicting.
But it’s important to spend some time outdoors whenever possible. There’s an entire world out there just waiting to be seen and it can be a great change of pace for anyone – especially kids.
One woman, June Zwan, has created some great tips on how to get kids more interested in nature and some ways to make it fun while also being educational.
1. Begin with Curiosity
What’s interesting about the outdoors? Everything! From the height of mountains to the depths of the ocean, there are so many fascinating facts about nature that it would be almost impossible to name them all.
So piquing a child’s interest in nature usually begins with finding out some things that they like and would like to know more about.
“I begin will asking a few questions about what they find interesting.” says June Zwan of Yuma, Arizona. June grew up exploring near the Colorado River and finds a great deal of joy in teaching young people of all ages the wonders of Mother Nature.
“Once I find out what they like and what they want to learn, I can suggest some ideas of how to find out or where they can look to learn more.” “Most kids have dreams and for most, they never die, they just get pushed aside.” “I like to help them pursue those dreams and almost any dream has something to do with nature, even if they want to build cars, they have to get the materials from somewhere and that somewhere begins with a natural resource.”
2. Make It a Game
“Any time I get a chance to make a game, I do.” June says of keeping children interested. It’s a sure-fire way of success. Making a game of the adventure or exploration is so successful in fact, that it often results in the most memorable part of the trip.
Pairing up kids, setting goals, making some easy rules and offering rewards are all great ways to make a game for kids. It doesn’t have to be some boring, educational hike, it can be a fun game to reach the top of the hill and get rewarded. It doesn’t even have to be a competition, you can make games that challenge the individual by having them best their own time – this can be a great way to show kids that they can strive to be the best and do the best of their ability and prevent them from feeling like another person is better than they are.
Kids are also more likely to want to do the activity again if the game they played was fun. “we once started a game to see who could grow their seedlings into plants and which one would grow more flowers.” said June.
“The girl that won not only realized how important it was to grow trees but convinced all of her friends to be more mindful of plants with flowers because the bees needed them and the flowers needed the bees and to make more flowers you had to preserve the bees and the trees.” It was a great little game and all the kids learned some important lessons about flowers, trees and bees.
A Door to Nature
As a parent, do your best to keep a door to nature open. No matter where you live, it’s a good idea to encourage outdoor play whenever possible – weather permitting.
From going to the park to building a treehouse, to hiking to biking. There are millions of ways to explore Mother Nature and if you can’t go out because of weather or other circumstances, bring nature to your kids. There are ant farm kits, you can build a birdhouse, get a pet fish and so many more ways to learn.
Make a Plan
Another suggestion is to make a plan to spend some time outdoors with your children. You can let them help you plan it out, plan the activities and set some goals.
3. Record the Memories
Collect some rocks, take some pictures, gather some sand, whatever your activity, make the memory last by bringing something with you.