With all the hustle and bustle of our busy lives as parents, we often get lost in the chaos of our to-do lists, work emails, phone calls while trying to squeeze in some time to ourselves.
In today’s world of technology, children need more and more outdoor experiences. I think a sad truth of the world today is that parents aren’t necessarily enjoying outdoor time with their children. Think about it, how often do you give your child an iPhone or iPad/ tablet because it keeps them quiet or distracted from an activity they were asking you to do? I’m guilty of it too; sometimes you just need a second to listen to your own thoughts (am I right?!)!
As a parent, I absolutely want my little guy to enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors throughout the seasons. Far too often, we (as a society) shy away from playing in the seasons’ normal weather conditions. But why? We should be taking those seasonal conditions and running with them – quite literally. The opportunities to play and be outside are endless and beneficial for both child and parent.
For children, experiences outdoors allow them to be exposed to the sun and open air; both of which contribute to bone development and a stronger immune system. The different elements of the environment catch the attention of the child and stimulates their imagination and exploration. (Don’t you remember being a pirate with a broken twig from a tree?) Exposure to outdoor experiences also provides a love of nature. If your child spends time outdoors, they will begin to appreciate the environment around them. They will take notice of the land’s curves and what grows on it. Children may even discover new things about it that you’ve never noticed.
As adults, we often find ourselves stuffed in office buildings or cars. We need to take time outside, in the open air, too. Being outside allows us to receive the vitamin of sunshine, vitamin d. Science says that people who spend more time outside are healthier, both mentally and physically. Nature is a stress reducer! When we slow down or stop the busywork and appreciation our natural surroundings, we allow our brain to take a break; relax and refresh. All aforementioned could reduce blood pressure and play a role in increasing not only our lifespan but our quality of life.
You may be asking yourself how you can spend more time outside, by yourself or with your little one. Here are some of my favorite activities to do, especially now that summer is here!
- Start your morning off with breakfast or end your day with dinner outside. If you aren’t much of a breakfast eater, take your coffee outside and breath in the sweet smell of fresh air.
- Take your favorite book (or some of your child’s books) and a blanket and read outside.
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt! The possibilities of what you can find in nature are endless. Pinterest has a lot of great ideas of things to hunt.
- Start a garden. It doesn’t have to be big. Narrow it down to what fits your daily schedule (in terms of how much care the plant needs) and start there. Don’t have a lot of space? Start with a container or two or maybe some herbs you use regularly. Have your little one help you water the plants or dig in the dirt.
- Exercise outside. Go for a walk, bike ride, or do some yoga – whatever fits your fancy. The natural light and sounds of nature will help you overcome some of those challenges your body faces as it is being worked.
Have fun and don’t forget to enjoy the great outdoors!