During this difficult period, nature has provided me and my little ones with relief from the stress of our major life transition. The exercise, combined with the beautiful scenery and the kids’ company, was my daily dose of soothing comfort. Seeing a red-tailed hawk soaring above helped me to think of the need for a “bird’s-eye view” for a broader perspective on my own circumstances. Witnessing the vegetation, ants, butterflies, and squirrels mirrored to me that life is constantly evolving and adapting over time.
I appreciate the healing power of my walks in nature. The wilderness gave me a place to reflect, discern, plan, and exhale from the stress of the personal changes taking place. Taking the time to stop and look closely at the insects, the flowers, rocks, and leaves rejuvenated my spirit and gave me renewed appreciation for how life is constantly unfolding around us. Even during the subsequent months as I adjusted to my new status, being in nature gave me a constant grounding for myself and for the kids. Nature serves as a refuge to inspire, reflect, and heal. Studies reveal that being in nature has a powerful positive effect on the mind, body, and spirit. The statistics on the health benefits for kids of being in nature are remarkable and, in many ways, not surprising. Outdoor activities increase physical fitness, raise levels of vitamin D and improve distance vision; being in nature reduces ADHD symptoms; schools with outdoor education programs help students score higher in standardized tests and improve their critical thinking skills. Nature also reduces stress levels and enhances social interactions among children.
Outdoor play fosters children’s intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. And by being outside and surrounded by nature, children experience an ever-changing and free-flowing environment that stimulates all the senses.
The natural world is a giant, open-ended learning laboratory. Children are innate scientists and love to experience the sights, scents, sounds, and textures of the outdoors. Nature provides countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, problem-solving, and STEM education. In nature, children think, question, and make hypotheses — thereby developing inquisitive minds. Whether they are judging the distance between two rocks before jumping or considering where insects go in the winter, children are constantly thinking when they are in nature. These experiences offer real, authentic learning like nothing else can. As children take risks, try, and fail, and try again, they gain resilience and confidence.
My kids and I decided to create a Nature Scavenger Hunt Card for us to take on our walks in the park. This card opens their curiosity and teaches them all about their surroundings. You can now find these fun cards at Flymeawaycreations Etsy shop in single or sets!
Also here are a few more brain building nature activities for children:
Build with and dig in dirt
Watch worms wriggle through the soil
Gaze at clouds
Jump in puddles
Listen to birds sing
Construct things with twigs and mud
Visit the shop to find the nature play cards, or garden flowering seeds to get your kids excited about nature!