Written For ParentCircle Website new design update
Kids can share a special bonding with nature. Do you know that nature activities for toddlers and preschoolers could benefit their overall well-being? Here is a list of fun indoor and outdoor activities for kids that would help them bond with nature
"When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strengths." When the world's most influential child educator, Maria Montessori says so, it's something you need to listen to.
As parents, our children's wellness is our main focus. And, we constantly strive to ensure that their physical, mental, and emotional well-being is taken care of. We turn to several tried and tested methods and even seek new ones to help provide these essential requisites. But in the process, are we forgetting the most basic and best source of their well-being 'bonding with nature'? Outdoor activities for kids and nature activities for toddlers are means to strengthen their connection with nature.
Noted American author and journalist Richard Louv explains in detail why children should embrace the natural world. In his book, Last Child in the World: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, Louv examines the relationship between nature and children while explaining why nature is essential for their healthy physical and emotional development.
According to Louv, the increasing disconnect between children and nature is reaching alarming proportions. He urges parents to look at several negative effects of this 'ignorance' on the health and other social capabilities of children. The absence of this essential bond can lead to attention disorders, depression and obesity, apart from leading to a lack of imagination and creativity. The important role of nature in child development cannot be overlooked.
These unfortunate circumstances have led to both children and adults being ignorant about the remarkable benefits of being outdoors and enjoying every bit of nature. Moreover, when children do not experience this essential union with nature, they don't care about the environment as much as they should. Worryingly, it has also been found that children are not exposed to nature as much as they should be.
Outdoor physical play is essential for the following reasons:
Play that encourages a diverse range of activities promotes:
Natural environments are made up of challenging spaces where children learn to recognize and assess risks. It allows for effortless focus, thus improving attention, memory, and other cognitive skills. It also provides an excellent sensory experience. Here, children learn through various encounters using sight, hearing, touch, smell, and even taste, in some instances!
Being in the natural world leads to better life skills:
Shobha Menon, the trustee and founding member of Nizhal, a Chennai-based non-profit trust that promotes tree conservation, says, "The natural environment stimulates the child's intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. Nature is a giant, open-ended learning laboratory where children are provided countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, and problem-solving. Interacting with natural environments allows children to learn by doing and experiment with ideas."
The natural environment stimulates the child's intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. Nature is a giant, open-ended learning laboratory where children are provided countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, and problem-solving. Interacting with natural environments allows children to learn by doing and experiment with ideas.
- Shobha Menon, conservationist
'Forest bathing' does sound strange, right? But you would be amazed at its wonderful benefits. It's nothing but being in the presence of trees, and was introduced by the Japanese in 1982, as a program called 'Shinrin-yoku' which means 'taking in the forest atmosphere'.
Forest bathing doesn't involve any physical activity like hiking, trekking, or even stretching. It's all about being in the forest and enjoying its serene bliss. It's almost like doing nothing and letting nature do all the nurturing—be it in a forest or a city park.
Interesting ways to spend time in nature as a family
There are several ways in which you can encourage your child to be involved in nature-related activities at home.
The outdoors offers unlimited ways to explore nature. Try and schedule nature-related activities on a regular basis for your family.
So, take your children to the nearest park and let them just enjoy the atmosphere. Nature will open out her arms and embrace them with all the goodness. What's more, it will do a world of good to your child's mental and physical health too.
ParentCircle is a magazine that empowers parents to raise successful and happy children. SUBSCRIBE NOW