There are so many things we want to teach our children and so many values we try to instill in them as they grow. However, before we teach them anything else, we first need to show them that they’re loved.
It’s also a way to make them feel safe and cherished. One way to achieve this is by spending as much time with them as possible in a wide range of situations and in different places.
In order to show them our love and bond with them, we take advantage of anything we can, including the great outdoors and all its wonders.
After all, there is something so soothing in the way fresh air and sun feel on our skin, and something so amazing about staring at the stars on a clear night. It’s that kind of moments that we should share with our children more.
Here are some other reasons for you to take your family activities outside and ways to make the best out of your outdoor time.
Visit A Farm
If you live in an urban area, it’s very possible that your children don’t really have a chance to come across any farm animals on their own.
Yes, they see them in pictures at school and on TV at home, but it’s alarming to realize that most kids have never actually seen a chicken, cow or a horse.
And not only that. You’d be surprised to learn that over 16 million of adult Americans think that chocolate milk comes straight out of brown cows.
By now, you’re probably searching for farms nearby you can visit. And you should. Not only will your entire family get to spend a lovely day surrounded by the green of nature and animals, but your child will be ecstatic.
For kids, spending time with family in new surroundings is always an exciting venture, and this particular one can teach them how fruit and vegetables are grown, picked and how they get from a farm into their plate.
They can get a first-hand look at where milk comes from and find out that cows aren’t the only animals that get milked, but also that a goose or a duck lays eggs just like a chicken does.
Petting a cow, goat or a piglet will give your child new empathy and appreciation for these animals, their lives and safety.
And if there’s an option of riding a horse, perhaps you can try it as well. Teaching your kids to be kind, mindful and to love life in all its forms is a wonderful thing, and if it can be done by spending an afternoon on a farm, then there’s no reason for you not to visit one.
Let Them Play
Unstructured play is very useful and can have many benefits on your kid’s mental development. In fact, it encourages them to be imaginative, creative and to invent entire situations, problems, and solutions to them.
And when all of this happens outside, these benefits can multiply, since your kid can be physically healthier for it as well. When kids play indoors, they use the space at their disposal to the max, but when you let them play outdoors, they have more space, more options and more reasons to move and run around.
When children are told what and when they have to study and exactly how to play inside their home, they can get frustrated. On the other hand, the combination of unstructured play and open spaces provides them with a sense of freedom, and this absence of restrictions can calm them down and improve their mood.
Not to mention the effect of fresh air and vitamin D on their immune system and overall health. If you can take your kids to the countryside or a nearby park, great.
If not, you can use your backyard just as efficiently. You can now even go online and order beautiful outdoor rugs, which are easily washed and can be sundried, so if your kids prefer sitting on the floor while playing, they can do that outside as well.
Let them choose what they want to do and play along with them. You might even find some of your own long-lost childhood playfulness and enjoy these activities as much as your little ones.
Use Your Vacation To Explore Nature
Instead of going to a nice hotel, perhaps this year you can try something different. Why not go camping with your kids? It can be an incredible experience for your entire family.
First of all, you’ll get to spend plenty of time together, making precious memories and building good family relationships. Second, you can use that time to go canoeing on a lake, cycling along a river, or hiking through a forest.
All these outdoor activities can boost your strength, endurance, and health, but also your mood and self-esteem, as well as your children’s.
Plus, being in new situations together can encourage you to rely on each other and build your mutual trust. It can also teach you and your kids some real-life nature skills which can at some point be very useful.
Remember the story of the boy who found his way out of the woods in the rain and cold back in the eighties? If he’d been spending his time on his couch and in front of his TV most of his childhood, things could have ended much differently for him, and not in a good way.
That’s why it’s essential that your kids are in good physical shape and that they don’t perceive nature as something completely unknown and scary, but rather as a pleasant place where they are comfortable and happy.
You want to promote an active outdoor lifestyle as a complete opposite of the unhealthy and dangerous sedentary one which many children now assume, and which can make the family drift further apart and disconnect the mental bonds your kid has with you or any of their friends.
Furthermore, once your kids get used to being outdoors and they start loving nature for all it can give us, they will understand better why it’s important not to litter, why they should preserve energy and do everything they can in an eco-friendly way.
If you show them how to respect the planet when they’re young, they’ll grow into adults with strong environmental awareness, which is something you can all be proud of.
Spending time outdoors is always a good idea, and when you do it as a family, it can do wonders for your relationship with your kids.
So, instead of cooking in your kitchen, have a barbecue whenever possible, instead of having your meal in your dining room, have a picnic in the park, and instead of watching TV on a Sunday morning, go cycling, hiking, or simply throwing a frisbee in your own backyard. When you’re healthy physically, you’ll be more likely to be healthy mentally, and this goes for your little ones as well. So, step outside and enjoy your family time to the fullest.