Tools and Tips - Nature Play

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Home | Events | News | Tools and Tips - Nature Play

Tips for Parents on getting your kids to enjoy nature

Take a moment to think about your childhood summers. Are you building rope swings, exploring forests, or chasing friends in green fields? No doubt you cherish outdoor experiences that generated a sense of freedom and discovery.  Are your children getting the same opportunities? If not, what are the consequences of a childhood removed from nature?

Partly due to parental concerns and the loss of natural spaces for play, children are losing access to nature and are spending more time in regulated activities, often indoors. Here are some tips for keeping your children safe while introducing them to ‘nature’s playground’.

1. Build a fort – encourage them to create a hide-out using natural materials. Line up rocks, gather cut grass or sticks to make walls, or rope branches together to make a teepee.On a hike

2. Turn a walk outside into an adventure – help them discover the real ‘jungle gym’ by creating obstacle courses around puddles, logs and boulders. Encourage them to look for and follow animal tracks. Or organize a scavenger hunt for items such as ‘something blue’, ‘something stinky’, ‘something alive’.

3. Connect to nature through arts and crafts – build bird houses or slug playgrounds! Play animal or plant ‘detectives’ and get them to draw what they see. If kids don’t know or understand nature well, they won’t gravitate towards it in the future.

4. Plan a camping trip – start off camping in the back yard or close by, then work up to car camping at a family-friendly, accessible spot before you plan a trip to the wilderness!

5. After a long day playing, read stories set in nature to fuel their imagination about the natural world. There’s a great list of books to start with here.

For further reading about helping your kids find thrills in the outdoors, check out Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors.

 Kids on rope swings

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