It has been well documented in recent years that children are spending less and less time outdoors. With the rise of tablets and computer games, it is easier than ever to occupy children from the confines of a lounge.
One study across America showed that, despite being enchanted by the outdoors, 80% of children reported feeling ‘scared of bugs and heat’.
To inspire a love of nature in children can seem difficult in the current climate, especially if you live in a city or far away from a national park.
Read these Top Tips
…..for inspiring them to get off the iPad and out into the world.
Make it FUN
Kids love things that are massive and things that are really small; they are easily awed by things if explained to them in the right way.
Watch your own language and behaviour, if you find yourself squealing at bugs try to refrain when the kids are around. Similarly, if you make it to a campsite and it’s raining, try and focus on the funny side of it.
So long as you are prepared, bad weather or unexpected bugs and critters can be a source of hilarity rather than fear.
Take them to a National Park
One of the best things most countries has to offer is acres of National Park land. From the USA to Australia to even Africa there are National Parks to visit.
Try and take them once a year, if only for a long weekend to a National Park, and try out all the activities on offer that are suitable.
Some might develop a passion for kayaking, while others might love rock climbing, you just don’t know until you give them the option. If camping is one step too far for your brood, look into accommodation on site.
If camping is one step too far for your family, look into accommodation on site. We love staying right in the National Parks whenever possible and it is far more exciting and exhilarating.
You might find that some National Parks have great places to stay that are affordable, like Zion National Park Hotel in Utah, which you can book at Bumbleberry Inn. By staying in a hotel, you are easing them in gently to the world of nature.
Make Sure they have Regular, Outdoor Playtimes
Unfortunately, holidays are few and far between for most working families. One way of ensuring your children get enough outdoor time is to work it into your family routine. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, this involves having a time each day (weather permitting) for free play outdoors. If your children are lacklustre about being forced from the sofa, why not make a scavenger hunt?
Inject some mystery into your normal surroundings and watch as they zip around the garden. Making outdoor time part of their normal routine is important, and to do it, you have to stick to it as well.
Change Your Relationship With the Outdoors
Between work, school runs and maintaining a social life, making time in your own life to appreciate nature is hard. However, children are like sponges, and everything you do will influence them (for the better or the worse).
If you are concerned about your children leading sedentary lives, try making sure you are also making the most of the outdoors available to you. When it comes to developing good habits, actions definitely speak louder than words.
When it comes to developing good habits, actions definitely speak louder than words.
Questions to our Readers
Do you have trouble getting your kids to play outdoors?
What tips and tricks do you use to entice your children to play or hang-out outdoors?
When did you last visit a National Park?