N = Nurture Nature
Taking time to enjoy the great outdoors may, it seems, actually make us better people!
As parents, we understand the importance of encouraging our kids to get outside on a regular basis. Outdoor play is an essential part of a child’s development. So is time to connect with all of the natural Eco-systems around us—oceans, rivers, streams, desert trails, buttes, mountain tops, forests and gardens are full of lessons, healing and wonder. Growing up shouldn’t keep us from making time for nature. In fact, research has shown that getting outside to enjoy nature and fresh air has multiple benefits for adults. It helps to make us feel better about ourselves and encourages us to be less self-focused and more other-focused. Spending time in nature helps reduce stress, improve mood, and promote an overall increase in well-being.
Loving the outdoors also makes us natural conservationists. Children who grow up connected to the world of nature are investing in protecting and preserving it, and family’s who include Eco-stewardship in their activities reap all sorts of benefits.
Hospital patients with a view of nature recover faster than hospital patients without a view.
- Go for a nature walk. Make the most of your mini-trek by trying to name the plants and animals you see. You might snap a few cell phone photos of species you want to look up later. Digital photography is a hobby even young children can enjoy, and can be a great tool for appreciating what they see. Collect photos of the insects you see on your walks, or of the color of dirt or sand at different locations.
- Plant something. Whether it’s a vegetable garden, flower containers, or a tree, a hands-on experience with nature has restorative properties for you and the environment.
- Create a weather chart with your kids. Keeping track of the weather is a great way to build a habit of observing nature as it occurs around us and at different locations.
- Go camping. A night spent sleeping under the stars or in a tent is great for getting in touch with nature. It’s also a good ways for families to unplug and reconnect together.
TeachKidsHow.com offers tips for teaching kids of all ages about nature. The Arbor Day Foundation website provides lots of ideas for how kids and adults can get involved in enjoying and preserving nature.