Getting outside in the fresh air is one of the best things kids can do for their health. Movement is of course good for physical health, but the benefits of nature can also impact mental and emotional health. Electronics have taken over life in many ways, and it’s easy to find it’s nightfall and you haven’t even gone outside all day. Between school, using computers for homework, and keeping up with friends online, it’s tough to find time to connect with nature, but if you can, it is extremely rewarding and can help you feel refreshed and re-centered.
One of the easiest ways to connect with nature is to just go outside for a walk and leave the electronics at home. Go with a family member and actually look at the world around you. Comment on the colors, sounds, and sights you see. Ask questions about the things around you. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the movement, and practice gratitude that you’re able to enjoy a quiet moment.
This one is fun because it combines yoga with beautiful scenic views to bring you even more inner peace. There are a couple ways to do this. If you’re new to yoga, bring your laptop into you backyard and watch a YouTube tutorial while you learn to do yoga in the fresh air.
If you already know a little bit of yoga, grab your yoga mat and head to a nearby park, open field, or beach. The main thing is to look for as flat a surface as you can find. Roll out your mat and start practicing your yoga flow. An alternative way to practice yoga in nature is to go on a yoga hike. Pick a mountain or trail you want to hike, and as you go along, take designated stops along the way where you hold a specific pose (on both sides) before continuing on your journey. This will help you get stretched as you start climbing.
Next time you’re on a hike or wandering around the backyard, look around for interesting objects. They could be sticks, rocks, seashells, or anything else that catches your eye. Save them and bring them home (if you’re at a location that allows this), and then turn them into a creative art project. Maybe you make a windchime out of seashells, or a birdhouse out of branches that you found. Be creative and have fun with it. Then be sure to show off your cool art project to friends and family.
There are lots of downloadable nature scavenger hunts online, or you can make your own. Some ideas include: a feather, a rock shaped like a heart, a pinecone… you get the idea. Make a couple of copies of the sheet and share with your friends. Go for a hunt at your neighborhood park or somewhere outside that’s visible so you don’t get lost. Set a timer, and meet back at the starting point at the designated time. The person who has the most treasures found at the end of the time wins.
Birds are an essential part of our ecosystem. Download a free birding app (there are many) and take it with you on your next trail walk. Try to identify the birds you see using your phone camera and the app, and learn a little more about the wildlife around you. There are so many birds, it may take you a while even with the apps, to determine the proper species. Each time you do it, you’ll get better at learning the birds and how they differ from each other. Spending the day outside listening to the birds chirp sounds pretty peaceful to us!
How do you like to connect with nature? Let us know what tips you have!
Arts and crafts
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