You wouldn’t always know it, but humans are not supposed to spend all of their time inside. While there are advantages to sleeping and working and entertaining indoors, it’s always important to get your fill of time out there in nature. And especially for kids: children who are cooped up inside all day, everyday miss out on plenty of fun adventures. However, you can’t force a love of nature onto them. Like everything, they have to come to their own conclusions. You can subtly guide them towards that way of thinking, though, by incorporating plenty of fun outdoor times and nature-themed fun into your daily lives. We take a look at how you can do this below.
Family Days Out
It’ll be easy to fall in love with nature when you build the excitement, and take your children on a trip into the great outdoors. You don’t need to go off into the wild in order to develop a love of nature. In the early stages, a simple stroll through the woods or a coastal walk will be enough to wake up those dormant primitive instincts. There’s no substitute for building a love of nature than simply getting out there and enjoying it!
Freedom to Play
However, it’s important to remember that not every family who takes their children into nature comes away with kids who can’t wait to go back. But this is usually because they make a fundamental error: they suck all the fun out of being in the outdoors. You do, of course, have to make sure that your children are safe, but there is such a thing as being overprotective. In the outdoors, there’s very little that can cause harm, in the UK at least. It’s also important that you don’t direct the activities too much. Your kids will figure out how to have fun on their own. Let them feel their way into it, rather than that trying to walk them along a path, and enjoy nature in only the way you enjoy it.
In the Garden
It’s all good and well taking trips out into nature, but for long-term love of nature, you’ll want to make it part of your day to day life, too. And this means creating a space in your home, specifically in your garden. It’s all too tempting to spend long hours inside the home, even on sunny days, but if you have a space right outside your back door, then you’ll be able to slowly show your kids the value of being outside. Begin with all the fun stuff: a patio, a BBQ, a swing. The more time they spend in the outdoors, the better! From there, you can go deeper. A vegetable patch, for example, can provide your kids with a hands-on experience on the magic of nature, and also provide happy bonding experiences. There’s much to love about getting your hands in the dirt, especially if eventually you’ll end up with vegetables that you can have at dinner time.
Close to Wildlife
It’s not just in vegetables that your kids can see nature do its thing. The UK is full of wildlife, and many likely find their way into your garden from time to time. Hedgehogs, frogs, birds, and even the occasional fox might be present in your garden at one stage or another! When they are, make sure you’re showing your kids: seeing wildlife in their natural habitat (as opposed to a zoo) will inspire them like nothing else. You can even encourage wildlife to come into your garden, such as by setting up a pond, which frogs will love, or by buying wild bird feeding stations online. When your garden is a haven for the UK’s best wildlife, your kids won’t have any choice but to grow up with an appreciation for all things outdoorsy!
The Best Nature Docs
Of course, most of our talk so far has been about getting out of the home, but the reality is that we get many dark and rainy days and nights in the UK. Even this, however, can be used to cement your children’s love of nature. Who could watch a documentary series like Planet Earth, and not feel a stir of emotion for the outdoors? Make sure you’ve got a list of the best nature series and films on standby, and you’ll always be able to have a cosy, nature-infused night in with your loved ones.
When the time is right, you’ll want to look at going into nature for a more extended period of time. Camping isn’t for everyone, but if you’re already an outdoors lover, then it’s probably for you! And there’s nothing more magical than spending some time with your family, around a campfire, and all huddled together in a tent. You won’t want to push it too much in the early days; one night or two will be enough to get the seed planted. Be wary of those cold and damp excursions though — they can put children off the outdoors for good if you’re not careful.
With their Friends
It won’t always be as exciting to go out into nature as a family, so, for your children’s sake, why not look at inviting some of their friends along? It’ll provide a different experience to the one that they usually have, and hey, you might even help show someone else the magic of the outdoors.
There’s nothing like growing up in a home that has nature running through its veins! When it comes to your decorations, look at incorporating elements from the outdoors. Seashells and rocks you pick up on your travels, art from your favourite destinations, and the like will all help.
Finally, remember the value of exploration! There’s much to love about going on a scavenger hunt, or geocaching. It provides an anchor for the day, and the sense of adventure will stick with them forever. Nature is fun, if you do it correctly!