Monday, September 30, 2019 / by Ashley Lay
Remember the days when you’d play outside in the dirt, barefoot in the grass, climbing the neighbor’s crab apple tree from sunup to sundown? Coming home with dirt under your fingernails, a fresh tan line and a skinned knee always promised a fulfilled day. It seems fewer kids know that feeling today. That's why Take a Child Outside exists.
Why Head Outdoors?
While it seems that kids “nowadays” are parked on the couch in front of a screen the majority of the time, that’s not necessarily the case. Often, instead of being linked to technology, the amount of time children spend outdoors is directly linked to their caretakers. The more time parents spend outside, the more time kids spend exploring and cultivating a deeper appreciation for nature.
This learning process begins at a very young age. Kids as young as 11 or 12 already have their view of “nature” pretty set in stone–good or bad. It’s important to encourage young children to develop a passion for the great outdoors early on. The best way to do so is interaction with all forms of nature: picking leaves, catching bugs or splashing through puddles. This “child-nature” play encourages creativity and exploration even more so than structured classes and teachings about the world.
Where Can We Go?
Lucky for you, in a gorgeous state like North Carolina, it’s easy to plan a weekend trip and enjoy the variety our state has to offer! In just a few hours, you can visit the beach or the mountains! Hanging Rock State Park can be a fun day trip filled with hiking and breathtaking views. Or, if you just have a few hours, Tanglewood Park in Clemmons is perfect for a long walk or mid-day picnic. Your own backyard can even be a nature-packed wonderland!
No matter where you go, try to interact with nature on a new level. Look for new species of bugs or plants, listen for unique bird-calls, or find a new trail or creek to explore. Enjoys the outdoors for the adventure it is and your kids will follow suite!
So grab that sunscreen, a good pair of shoes and your kids and head outside this week! Not only will you help cultivate a deep appreciation of nature in your little ones, but you’ll be creating family memories that will last a lifetime!
Childrens Time Outdoors: Results and Implications of the National Kids Survey. Larson, Lincoln R; Green, Gary T; Cordell, H K. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration; Urbana 29.2 (2011).
Nuturing Children’s Biophilia: Developmentally Appropriate Environmental Education for Young Children. Randy White & Vicki L. Stoecklin. White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group (2008).