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Every child should be able to get completely caked in mud and have a brilliant time hunting for worms but in our over-clean, over-protective modern world, fewer and fewer children have the opportunity to run wild. This is a major issue because exploring the natural world is one of the best ways to begin understanding its complexities and beauties.
The good news is that parents can still spark the love of the outdoors in their kids, it’s just going to take a little more creativity than our parents required! While running about on a pitch and getting exercise is a great start, here are a few ways to introduce your kids to the natural world they could easily miss.
Learn and Play in the Garden
Learning to cultivate plants is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a child and from grass heads to proper lawn care, a bit of soil, a few seeds, and some patience are all you need to get started. Try planting a few quick growers like grasses or cress with young children and then gradually progress onto plants that take a little longer and are a bit more difficult to grow.
Getting outside and into the garden is also a good way to introduce your children to the various other species that live and thrive there. Leave some bird food out to encourage visitors and don’t be afraid to rummage around to find bugs and critters. The more you see these creatures in their natural habitat, the easier it is to love them as part of the environment.
Go on Walks
We might think of ourselves as tamed indoor creatures but getting out to see the nature that surrounds us will always inspire awe. Taking a short walk each week is a brilliant way to add secret exercise to your day but it is also a good way to connect with the seasons and notice any changes.
If you’re feeling creative, try collecting small items that you can make a collage with later on. Leaves, flowers and twigs are all candidates for this sort of artistic activity. Young kids will probably need a bit of jollying along if you are on a long walk so remember to take snacks and drinks and play games as you go!
Build a Den
Whether it’s an amazing treehouse with a slide or a ramshackle hut, having a den is a great way to encourage your children to get outside and play. A kid-sized space is ideal for encouraging a bit more independence as well as giving them a space for messier activities.
Adding swings and fun decorations is a great idea to personalize the den. String lights can look really cool if your kids are old enough to be responsible in the dark but even simple bunting can make a huge difference. The more you can do to encourage your kids to get out into the sunshine and build and create the better so don’t make this easy for them!