Take a step outside!
Updated: Jun 13
Getting out in the great outdoors has so many benefits. It provides more than just a fun experience. We love getting outdoors, going for a walk, finding a park, splashing in puddles, climbing trees and going on an amazing adventures. You can follow my adventures @Instagram.com/wee.adventurers
The importance of being out and being active can help improve mood and feelings of self-esteem. It can help to bust boredom, getting the sunshine vitamin, connect with family and friends and improving overall health and well being.
When children spend time playing outside in nature, they learn and discover all about the great outdoors while also developing their social, communication, physical and sensory skills.
Why children need nature?
In today’s world a lot of children prefer to sit on the sofa watching tv and using a screen or device. The situation has become so drastic that it has even been given a name. Nature deficit disorder. It’s clear kids spend much more time indoors than outdoors and children are finding it more difficult to focus. In our busy lives, being bombarded by information and distracting demands for our attention means that we are finding it more difficult to focus for a long time and we become fatigued with prolonged concentration.
Once you do away with the usual indoor routines and leave the house, you have conquered the hardest bit!
Science shows that when outside in nature spaces, our brains become relaxed, our blood pressure lowers, and our immune system strengthens. Going for a walk is one of the best ways of reducing stress levels. Rhythmic exercise has a calming effect and the physiological effects of walking, reducing blood pressure and increasing heart rate, also help to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
At all ages, people who adventure outside have been found to have higher levels of self-esteem and feel that they can cope better with the stresses of modern life. Nature can help to build confidence and resilience.
Getting outdoors and exercising improves self-esteem and body image. At all ages, people who adventure outside have been found to have higher levels of self-esteem and feel that they can cope better with the stresses of modern life.
It can also be essential quality time with parents and siblings developing language and communication skills, promoting curiosity, creativity and critical thinking.
Being in an outdoor environment gives children an appreciation of nature and the environment, it encourages independence and an active . Going for a walk, especially during the afternoon or early evening, can help you relax and improve the quality of your sleep, particularly the most refreshing REM sleep.
We are designed to be outdoors, connecting to nature! Being outside makes us HAPPY
How to explore with your kids!
We don't necessarily need to travel far to enjoy nature. It doesn’t matter where you go, it doesn’t matter about the exotic places and the expensive gear all that matters is getting them involved in nature. Nature is all around us and playing and exploring in nature is for all ages.
I want to teach my girls the fun of having an adventure anywhere, even in our own garden. Wild adventures can be as simple as growing plants, playing out in the rain or making a mud pie.
I have always taken my girls outside from day one. Sharing nature from such an early age generates a life long love of the outdoors. Using a pram with good wheels or a good baby carrier they can enjoy the fresh breeze, woodland smells, colours of trees and plants and the sounds of nature.
My girls now love to go for a walk and spot different plants and trees. You can take some crayons and paper and do some leaf rubbing. You can look for wildlife and search for animal foot prints. Ivy is at the age where we search for fairies and little houses.
Take a bag and collect nature. The girls love to find things to bring home and we talk about what what we have found.
Build nature sculptures with twigs, leaves. Race sticks in rivers and streams. Take stories to enjoy outside or just meet up with friends and have play dates in the park.
With older children you can download different scavenger hunts online. One I used to teach as a science lesson in school was a leaf hunt and find different leaves and flowers. You can play different sports, take a football or play rounders. If your older children have smart phones you could look into Pokémon go or geocaching.
Try to get your children involved in the planning, get them to pack their own bag and set up any equipment. Children love having responsibilities and will learn so much from these small things.
Be prepared for the good and the bad!
When we go out I try to be as organised as possible. I always try to prep the night before if we are going on a big adventure. I get all the gear ready, outdoor coats, wellies or boots, picnic, snacks, drinks. I always keep my adverted bag stocked with all my essentials. My favourites are Toddle born wilds adventure balm and their insect repellent.
One tip I was told by a friend is keep a box in the car with essentials in. Spare nappies, wipes, clothes, sun cream, plasters, snacks etc. I have even added talcum powder as it helps to get sand off the feet. Anything that can come in useful. It has saved me many a time when we have gone for spontaneous trips out.
Like all adventures, sometimes it doesn’t go the way you expect, especially when you have children in tow. Having to leave a fun packed trip, mid meltdown and wrangling a screaming toddler back into the car. They are whining, crying and you wonder why you even bothered in the first place. Toilet needs, scrapes and falls and the dreaded hangriness are all likely. I have been there. Your thinking this is not what I had imagined. The day I pictured was a fun day, filled with laughter and enjoyment. Not this!
Sometimes the days out you organise and prepare for just DO NOT go to plan. But guess what. That is OKAY (Took me a while to realise this) Try to remembe that these would no doubt happen wherever you are. Just take a deep breath, remain patient and REMEMBER YOU HAVE GOT THIS.
And remember have fun!
Going on outdoor adventures is easy, fun, and it’s beneficial to spend time outside with your family. Being outside engages and excites children in the most spectacular ways, allowing their imaginations to run wild!