How to Raise Outdoor-loving Kids
There are so many great things about living in the twenty-first century: modern medicine, equality for women, international travel. However, children who lived a hundred years ago experienced their early years without screens, enjoying self-made fun and a whole lot of time spent adventuring outside.
If you want your kids to love the big wide world, start by teaching them to appreciate nature and the outdoors. To tear your kids away from their iPads and get them frolicking outside, check out the following tips:
Teach them the simple joys
To appreciate nature, kids must be guided to see how beautiful and sublime it is. This often starts with simple joys, such as walking barefoot and feeling the ground beneath their feet; enjoying a handful of sand run through their fingers; and watching the moon on a waxing night. Enjoy these activities with your children, and teach them that these pleasures – however simple – are the very things they should be seeking out.
Plan your family activities around nature
It’s all about conditioning: if you enjoy a lot of nature-related stuff from the time your kids are tots, chances are, they’ll grow up loving the outdoors. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s ever too late to start basing your family outings and holidays around nature.
Camping trips are a classic tradition for many outdoors-loving families, and with glamping on the table nowadays, it’s easier than ever give it a go. Other fun activities include skiing, hiking, going to the beach, visiting the zoo, or even just a peaceful family walk around the block on warm evenings.
Steer them towards nature-loving pals
While we’d never advocate for you to tell your kids who to be friends with, if you do have family friends who share the same eco-friendly ethos as you, it doesn’t hurt to give them a gentle nudge in the right direction. Kids are followers, after all, and if they see their pals engage wholeheartedly in outdoors life, they’ll likely want to do the same.
Bring the outside in
What’s the relationship between your home and the environment outside? Are they like two totally different spheres? Inside and outside shouldn’t be so distinctly separated: the home interior should have enough of the natural environment injected into it that it reminds your kids of the bounty to be found outside. Even a few pretty pot plants can inspire nature-based ideas and activities in your kids’ minds.
Walk, walk, walk
Walking means being outdoors, and more time spent outdoors means more time to develop an appreciation for nature. Wherever possible, encourage your kids to walk - to school, the park, and after-school activities. Even better, walk with them, and you’ll have covered all the safety bases as well.
Teach them that appreciation often comes after discomfort
Endurance can be a tricky lesson for kids to learn. However, with perseverance and habit, they’ll come to understand that the discomfort involved in many extended outdoor activities is completely worth the sensations that follow. Burning legs from hiking, and the first shock of cold from ocean diving leads to gorgeous sunrises from the summit of the mountain, and the pure elation of skiing down a slope. When your kids spend time in nature, they will realise that the most beautiful moments are won through hard work.