Astronomical amounts of screen time and spending time aplenty indoors. Parents today have it rough!
With the amount of screen time the average child experiences, age-old concepts like enjoying the fresh air have never been rarer. It’s no wonder adults are scrambling to discover the best ways to improve child development.
Oddly enough, one doesn’t need to resort to expensive studies to find the solution. Instead, exploring nature, as it has been in the past, is a fantastic way to boost a child’s mental development. Simple nature hikes, traversing through common animal habitats, are enough to spark a child’s wonder.
When children develop curiosity about a subject, there is no holding them back from exploring it. And that’s just one of the benefits that the great outdoors offers.
- Outdoor Activities Improve Mental Health
Kids love to explore nature. It’s no wonder why their mental health improves significantly when outdoors. Spend time amongst the trees; you’ll see for yourself. It’s astounding how quickly one’s mood improves.
This is because the varied stresses of everyday life no longer factor in. At least not for a moment. Whether it’s the wildlife species running free, or the outdoor time in general, wonderful things happen to our mental states when we experience nature.
With the passing of time, the stresses of a child increase. Their social lives, love lives, and of course, their grades, all of these topics weigh heavy on their minds. Nothing a day in the woods can’t alleviate.
- An Increase in Real-World Knowledge
Nature’s only purpose isn’t to be stared at. Understanding how the world works is another benefit the wilds can offer us. Natural habitats present a great opportunity! A chance… to enlighten children and show them the harsh truths of the world.
What’s more, children are graced with learning within a safe environment. Safeguarding our children from life’s realities is something any parent wants to do. However, eventually, they’ll have to learn for themselves.
It’s better that they do so in an exciting way within a controlled environment. An environment that encourages learning creatively. Let other animals act as your child’s first foray into the “real world.”
- Keeping Physically Healthy
Exercising is not at the forefront of any child’s mind. Why would it be? Exercising can be painful; I know from experience. How, then, can one encourage kids to keep themselves physically healthy?
Well, a fun way of going about this is by taking your child outdoors. Let them run loose! I can guarantee any kid will rush off into the woods if given a chance. Studies show that the more time in nature one spends, the healthier they are.
Even the most stubborn tot will cave in. To get the ball rolling, why not come up with some wildlife-themed games?
- No Need to Worry About the Internet
Arguably, the internet is the greatest tool that humanity has created. But, alas, the internet can be a dangerous place, filled to the brim with shoddy sites, those looking to cause harm, and bad influences.
Imagine a curious child. One that is indoors all day and exploring the world wide web. Sounds terrifying, especially when you think about all the harmful places they could stumble into.
Taking your child out for a hike negates the aforementioned from happening. Instead, it forces them to focus on the creatures and land around them. Now that sounds abundantly more fulfilling! Of course, it should go without saying that it’s also much safer.
- An Overall Decrease in Screen Time
Let us sidestep our previous claims about the internet and its potential danger. There are many parents that place parental controls on their child’s devices. Surely, they have nothing to fear. Not quite!
Suppose your child spent all their time in front of a screen reading. This could still cause them harm. Modern screens output a frightening amount of blue light.
Blue light can irreparably damage our eyes. A child’s eyes can undergo drastic changes due to this harmful light, especially when exposed to it for large bouts of time.
As they grow older, their vision will deteriorate far quicker than usual. Statistics paint a clear picture. The number of people wearing glasses today is far higher than ever.
- Improves Thinking Process and Imagination
Problem-solving skills are indispensable. Notably, wildlife activities have been known to improve an individual’s thinking processes. By spending time in nature, a child’s imagination blooms!
Nevertheless, what does imagination have to do with problem-solving skills? The short answer is everything! Solving problems is all about creating new ways to handle existing issues.
The old adage still rings true. Reflect and replicate!
Playing outdoors teaches children how to create fun for themselves. Instead of following an existing game’s dictum, they can set their own rules, becoming their own game master! It’s pretty much a hands-on way of boosting their creativity.
- A Source of Learning Stress Management
Teens are known for lashing out. Assuredly, this is the greatest source of headaches for any adult. But what if there was a way to lessen the severity of those outbursts? A way to assuage parental headaches?
By teaching children how to handle stress, you are setting them up for a future in which they can better control and regulate their emotions. Studies say as much! A hobby or strong interest in something helps us relieve stress.
Knowing how to handle stress properly brings heaps of benefits—better performance in school and work. Not to mention greater satisfaction in life overall.
- Builds Resilience to Face the Challenges
Life is a constant struggle, and we fight to get closer to what we want every day. Regardless of whether our goals are morally right, being resilient is a great indicator that you’ll be able to reach your goals.
What better way to ingrain this trait into someone than in their formative years? Struggling to scale a tree! Desperately fighting to swim against the current! Poking our heads through the canopy! All of these occurrences are a part of everyday life in the wild.
A child exposed to this kind of tussle will surely develop from it. Creating a habit that will stick with them for life.
- Character Building of Children
Character building is an amalgam of prior listed benefits. It refers to the whole of an individual. Let’s take everything that we’ve gone over into account, learning how to manage stress better, expanding our creativity, and streamlining our thought processes.
All of these traits combine to form a well-rounded individual who is primed to succeed in all sectors of life. Whether that be in a social or career-minded sense, kids need guidance.
Outdoor learning can bring them much-needed experience in life’s most important areas. It’s hard to find a downside to that. Using the resources at your disposal, you can play with and teach your child at the same time.
- Take Them To a Wildlife Park
Wildlife parks are mystical places! Acting more as snapshots of the wilderness than zoos ever could. In case you don’t know, allow me to explain what a wildlife park is. A wildlife park is a location where wild animals can roam. Uncaged and free to explore.
A wildlife park provides lodging for many endangered species. Within this refuge, these species can begin to thrive once more. These locations allow onlookers a clear and realistic view of how wildlife behaves within their natural habitats.
Keep in mind that most wildlife parks do not allow visitors to walk around on their own accord.
- Take Them To an Animal Welfare Center
Animal welfare centers teach us about the pain and suffering that many animals go through, acting as a wake-up call. These centers are important because they teach children about empathy. Empathy is a trait that is crucial for a better society.
Unfortunately, empathy is no longer seen as desirable by many. Welfare centers show what happens when irresponsible owners no longer want their pets. Anyone with common sense will feel for the animals that have long been abandoned.
On the upside, animal welfare centers, as a learning environment, are much more accessible than wildlife parks. There’s one in every big to the mid-level city!
- Use Books/Magazines/Programs to Explore Wildlife With Them
Books and magazines are chockful of wildlife art. Furthermore, art stimulates the mind! A child’s imagination will surely kick into overdrive when seeing detailed pictures and drawings of endangered species, especially when it’s their first time witnessing such sights!
But what if your child is allergic to books? This seems to par for the course nowadays. Fret not! There is a multitude of nature and wildlife programming on television and the internet.
You only need to ensure that your kids spend a reasonable amount of time staring at a screen. Don’t let them overdo it!
Perhaps wildlife parks are too restrictive. Maybe you believe that animal shelters are too somber. Additionally, books and television aren’t quite what you had in mind. If there are no falsehoods in the previous statements, your next step should be a nature walk.
Nature walks are every bit as pleasant as they are exciting—an excellent blend of two extremes. You get to relax in the warm sunlight as your child races off, hoping to catch a glance at what comes next.
Nature walks can be taken anywhere. Even a local park! As long as it’s outdoors and you’re walking, you’re good to go.
- Make the Exploration Fun Filled By Adding Different Activities
Whatever activity you settle on, spice it up! Come up with fun little games for your child to play. As you walk around, these games can help stimulate their minds, getting them to focus even more on their surroundings.
Encouraging children to explore nature is a fantastic way to awaken their imaginations and get them excited about the world around them. To make it even more fun, consider incorporating activities like snowboarding and skiing in the winter or kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding in the summer.
Want some more wonderful tips? How about I show you how to get your child excited about the outdoors?
Make it all relatable. That’s your stratagem! Show them how what they learn outside can enrich their lives.
Connect the different quirks that animals have to existing ideas. For example, hummingbirds can change direction in microseconds. Their flying ability is on par with a superhero’s!
By connecting the outside world to something they already enjoy, you can have that excitement carry over. It’ll teach them to search for other connections around them. This means more time spent away from a screen.
The great outdoors! It’s astounding how many benefits touching grass can bring someone. Getting your child accustomed to the world around them sets them up for success. So encourage kids to play outside.
Set rules and restrictions that limit their screen usage. This will help push them out the door and keep them there!