Children are the planet’s future. We need to instill a love for the outdoors in our little ones so, as adults, they are motivated to help take care of it. Kite flying, scavenger hunts, sandcastle building, outdoor strolls, gardening and bird watching are just a few of many different options to get your children outside and playing. Limiting time on digital screens will open up more opportunities for garden gallivanting: Hide the remotes and game controllers and get them outdoors! Outside they have more freedom to let off steam.
No garden, no problem. According to a recent homeowner survey, one in eight households do not have access to a private or shared garden. However don’t panic, choosing to walk wherever possible opens up opportunities to discuss the natural world around you. Walk to the corner shop or the post box instead of taking the car. Move everyday activities to the outdoors, have picnics or even sit outside to read a few favorite books. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, get your toddler involved in planting, weeding and watering. Most children love an excuse to get their hands (and clothes) dirty.
Bird watching is another option. Bird feeders will encourage our feathered friends. Toddler binoculars are a great accessory and are available for around $10 online. Red kites, sparrow hawks, robins, woodpeckers, blackbirds and jays are just a few of the regulars in the countryside. Take some time to walk around outdoors with your child and point out different types of birds they can see or hear.
Do you have a dog? Dog walking is a great excuse to get the family out and about.
Supporting children to become environmentally responsible starts at home. The aim is to help our little people foster a sense of belonging, respect and care for all living creatures. Lead by example; move a caterpillar out of harm’s way, put litter in the bin when out on a walk and point out why this is important. Witnessing acts like this regularly will ensure children grow up appreciating nature and that they can have a positive effect on it.
Basic activities like tree climbing can provide hours of fun as well as helping to develop coordination, balance and strength. If you are struggling with outdoor activity ideas, there are plenty of outdoor clubs to join so do some Googling and explore some local playgroups near you.