After attending the Wired to Wild lecture, by Richard Louv, I am excited to get you excited about outdoor activities for your family. The benefits are amazing and the effects are lasting. There is evidence that a connection to nature enhances social skills, mental cognition and emotional health. Your child will learn empathy for living things, develop self-regulation and have a reduction in stress (sadly childhood depression and stress are on the rise) when being in nature. It is important for your child to spend non-structured time in nature. The time you spend outside will have a long lasting impact on your whole family.
Use nature to strengthen family bonds
We have so many urban parks that encourage a family walk in nature – Discovery Park, Golden Gardens, and Carkeek Park are some of the more popular ones but there are many neighborhood parks as well. Or simply take a walk around the block. You can look at gardens (buds are forming on plants, flowers popping up out of the ground, small bugs roaming about and birds singing), collect treasures (rocks, sticks, leaves, etc.). You can go for a walk in the morning and compare it to the same walk at night with a flashlight. Go for a worm walk after a rain (take a flashlight and look for worms on the sidewalk). While on your walk you can chat with your child about what they see, hear, feel, smell.
Being in nature is a gift you can give your child that will stay with them for their whole life!
It is important to help the kids engage in nature and then step back and let them use their imaginations. It is great to see where they go! You are the first step in connecting your child to nature. If they do not know nature they cannot love nature. You cannot love something you do not know!