Everything is digital and on a screen these days, which means that getting our kids to connect properly with nature isn’t always easy – the great outdoors can often take a backseat compared to the allure of screens, social media, and gaming. However, helping children gain a love of nature is a crucial thing, and it will help their overall wellbeing and, specifically, their physical and mental health.
How To Make Nature Exploration Fun For Kids
So what can be done?
It might seem like an impossible task to drag kids away from their tablets and phones and get them outside, but it can be done, and it all revolves around making nature fun for kids. If it’s fun out there, they’ll be happier to go. With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to make nature fun for your kids so that they – and you – can make the most of it.
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Create A Nature Treasure Hunt
One of the most exciting ways to get your kids more engaged with nature is to organize a nature treasure hunt. The good news is that this fun and interesting activity isn’t hard to do, and it just needs a little bit of pre-planning to help you make the most of what you’re doing (otherwise it just won’t work so well, and the children might get bored and you’ll do the opposite of what you wanted to do, ie, drive them back indoors).
Make a list of items you need the children to find, and make it as interesting and diverse as possible, with some easy items and some much more difficult ones. You can include anything natural at all, from a colorful leaf to a smooth rock to a particular flower or tree, for example. Get them to use their senses and really engage with nature as they’re looking, and encourage them to ask questions or notice things even if they’re not on the list of things to find. Not only will this help your kids to become more observant, but it will help them appreciate nature more as well.
When they find each item on the list, be ready with a fascinating fact about it to give your children even more information about nature, and this will give the treasure hunt an extra layer of interest as well as being a fun, physical activity that can last for hours if you want it to.
Get A Drone
Getting a high-quality drone like the DJI M30T is another excellent way to make nature fun for your kids, especially since it incorporates technology with nature, combining something they already love with something you want them to love more. When you have a drone, you can fly it high above the trees and give your children a truly unique perspective on nature that they’d never get otherwise, and they’ll love exploring the world from this different point of view.
What’s great about using a drone is that it can turn a standard day out in nature into something a lot more exciting, especially when you consider you can film what your drone sees, meaning that you can keep the excitement for a lot longer because you can watch it back at a later time, and perhaps even use it to make lessons out of (although again, it would have to be done in a fun way).
As well as learning about nature, a drone can help your kids with their motor skills as well if you give them the chance to operate it (with supervision, of course), which can be really useful, no matter what age they might be. By blending their interest in technology with their love of nature, you can have the best of both worlds, and with a drone, it’s likely your kids won’t be able to wait to get outside and enjoy their time in the great outdoors.
Who says that nature can only be explored during the day? Kids love nighttime adventures, especially if they take place after their usual bedtime, so why not use this to make nature more interesting and exciting? Of course, you probably can’t do it on a regular basis, at least with very small children, but that’s one of the things that makes it so exciting, and using the adventure aspect as a treat element can be a great idea – it definitely makes the entire thing memorable, if nothing else!
One thing you can do at night is to look at the stars, and this can be a fascinating thing for children and adults alike. You’ll need a telescope or at least some good binoculars if you want to get a better view, but even just taking a blanket, wrapping up warm, perhaps making some hot chocolate, and lying back on the lawn to look at the stars can be enough to begin with. It might even start a lifelong love of space and astronomy.
As lovely as this idea is in theory, in practice you’re going to need to do plenty of research first; it’s likely your kids will have a lot of questions about the stars and the universe once they’re really looking up at it properly, and you don’t want to have to keep saying you don’t know all the time. Make it your mission to learn something about the stars, moon, planets, and so on, so you can answer at least some of the many questions your children are likely to have.
Children need to learn about responsibility and kindness if they’re going to become good adults, and one way they can do that is through volunteering (with you, ideally). So why not find some volunteering opportunities that allow you all to be outside in nature as well as helping others and doing something good?
You should be able to find local groups and organizations that carry out litter-picking, tree-planting, weeding jobs around town, general gardening, or perhaps wildlife habitat work (restoring it or building it, for example), and those are the ideal opportunities for you all to get stuck into if you want to make nature fun for your kids.
When you’re taking part in volunteering opportunities like these, it’s a great chance to teach your kids about why it’s so important to look after the natural world and make it as good and protected as possible, which opens up all kinds of conversations and teaching moments. Plus, it’s likely that whatever you’ll be doing will be a physical activity, which is fantastic, especially if your children aren’t active all the time.
Everyone has to eat, and if you want your kids to think of nature as something fun and a place they want to be more often, you can make it a place where they can eat and enjoy their food in a different, beautiful environment.
Pack a picnic basket and take your kids to a local park or nearby woods – or even just your backyard if that’s a better place to start with or you won’t have a lot of time. When you’re choosing the food to take, let them make suggestions and help you put the picnic together, they’ll feel much more like a part of things, and the adventure will be more exciting (especially if you include food they wouldn’t normally have – although be careful to still have some healthy food included).
The great thing about a picnic is that it means you have to be still for a little while as you’re eating, which gives you and your kids a chance to listen to the natural world around them and get more invested in it. Plus, a picnic is the perfect time for some bonding, so it’s a great idea all around.
In addition to this, here are few more ideas to make exploring nature fantastic and fun learning experience for kids.