3 Simple Strategies YOU Can Use to Get Your Kids Outside Today!
Intuitively, we all know that getting outside is essential for our kids. It wears them out, so they are less hyperactive in the house. They tend to sleep better at night. And they’re usually happier after they play outside.
Even though we intuitively know that being in nature is beneficial for our kids, the reality is, getting outside with kids is not easy! We have to contend with screen time, weather, potential hazards, and planning. And if that wasn’t hard enough, we lack time, knowledge, wild spaces, appropriate gear, and energy to put it all together. You’re not alone, my friend! We all feel overwhelmed at times.
These struggles may be difficult, but they’re not impossible to overcome. In fact, parents just like you are taking steps to get their kids outside every day. I asked several parents from all walks of life what they do to get their kids outside and engaged with nature. As their responses came in, I was surprised how much their answers overlapped. But then again, I wasn’t that surprised. It shows us that there are simple strategies that ALL of us can use to balance our everyday lives while intentionally getting our kids outside and connected with nature.
We know that nature is an integral part of our children’s health and development, as well as a critical component for shaping the way they see the natural world. So let’s take simple steps to get them outside every day and engaged with nature!
Below, I’ve listed the top 3 strategies that parents, just like you, are using every day to get their kids outside. Click here to receive the full list of plans.
1. Create Opportunities & Say “Yes!”
“Kids are naturally hungry for new adventures, all you need to do is create opportunities for them to get outside, they will connect to nature effortlessly, and before you know it they will crave that relationship, start asking questions and find joy in discovering the unknown.” - Sherri
Creating opportunities could be as simple as going outside for 10 minutes a day. The key is to get outside every day at around the same time so that it becomes a routine. For example, on weekdays after you’ve worked all day and picked up the kids, don’t go inside. The minute you walk inside you’ll be thinking about dinner, cleaning up, or helping with homework. Walk directly from the car to the yard. You can play, look at how the plants are changing, check out the insects, or sit there and enjoy the fresh air.
2. If You’re Curious, Your Kids Will Be Too
One of the most straightforward strategies is to show your kids that you are curious about nature. Their curiosity and interest will naturally follow. Don’t worry about knowing everything! Focus on going outside, asking questions and learning something new together.
“I feel like my kid's experiences are much more memorable and meaningful when they see my curiosity, excitement, and nerdiness. They get to see that I don't know much at all, that it's ok, that I'm cool with it and that I want to learn, grow and explore with them.” – Sergio
3. Have a Plan, But Keep it Simple
“Life with kids can be busy and getting them outside can be a bit overwhelming at first, but being prepared can ease the transition considerably. We keep a loaded backpack by the door at all times so we can grab and go. We change the contents each season. For spring we carry a change of clothes, baby wipes, extra socks, rain gear, sunblock, lavender essential oil (for ticks), tissues, water bottle, chapstick, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, bandana, hat, cloth gloves, granola bars and a study jar.” - Sherri
Having some plan will make getting outside so much easier. Keep a pre-packed backpack by the door (click here to get a list of items you may want to add to your backpack), frame it so that your child is excited about going outside, and try new strategies based on what didn’t work. If you need help blocking out time and making outdoor time a habit, download the Planning workbook here.
Need More Help or New Ideas?
If you need more help getting your kids outside and engaged with nature, try our FREE trial for Nature Matters Academy here! You’ll get a month’s work of activity ideas, a complete lesson that will engage your child in nature, tips for planning and packing, and you’ll even learn how playing in the dirt can be beneficial for our children’s health!