This post first appeared on Nature Valley.
Most of you know that spending time outdoors is good for the mind, body and soul. Yet, in this day and age, it can feel like an uphill battle to get our families to venture outside. It seems like kids and teens are glued to their screens and not that interested in doing anything else. According to a research survey commissioned by Nature Valley and Vision Critical, 56% of Canadians feel they don’t get enough outdoor time. I can’t say I’m really that surprised. I know with my own kids that it can be difficult to pry them away from their devices. The question becomes, why does spending time in nature really matter?
The simple answer is that it matters a lot. Nature has so much to offer your children and with all the benefits, you are going to want to make that extra effort to get your kids outdoors more often. Here are six great reasons why kids need time in nature.
1. Spending time in nature can be lots of fun. You don’t have to venture very far either. It can be a simple as stepping outside into your backyard or visiting a local park. You may be thinking, then what? The sky is the limit on fun activities for your kids. Nature Valley has an awesome printable sheet with 100 Nature Moments for 100 days of summer fun. Print out the list and work through the nature activities. The best part is that they are really simple to do and won’t cost you any money! One activity we recently did was searching for four leaf clovers in our yard. See? Easy peasy.
2. Spending time in nature is good for your child’s health. I always think about how I feel after I spend the day outdoors. I sleep better at night and feel more relaxed. The same benefits apply to your kids. Studies show that spending time outdoors is good for both mental and physical health. Nature has that special power to calm, reduce stress and make you feel energized all at the same time. From my own personal experience, I find my kids sleep better and go to bed at a decent hour when they’ve spent the day outside.
3. Spending time in nature is an impactful way for families to make memories. I think back to my own childhood, and the memories that stand out the most are the ones my family and I spent together outside. I loved spending time on my family’s boat touring the beaches of the Ottawa River and climbing up Oiseau Rock to reach the lake on top. I’m doing my best to create the same type of special memories with my own girls so they can smile when they look back at their childhood.
4. Spending time in nature encourages creativity and independence. Send a group of kids outside and I guarantee they’ll come up with a new game to play together. There is less structure in the outdoors which means more time for their imaginations to come alive. I’m impressed by some of the unique games my kids and their friends have come up with on their own!
5. Spending time in nature is great exercise. Instead of being sedentary on the couch, kids have to get moving when they go outside. I think of it as exercising without even realizing you are doing it. Nature has that effect! Walking along the beach, swimming in a local lake, or hiking a trail are all examples of how easy it is to get moving outside. According to Nature Valley’s survey, 32% of parents agree that cardiovascular exercise is a key benefit to getting their kids outdoors.
6. Spending time in nature fosters an appreciation and respect for the world around us. Kids are naturally inquisitive and will ask lots of questions, so be prepared! Introduce them at a young age to nature so that it can grow as they grow up. I’ve heard questions like, “How do birds fly?” and “Why do the leaves fall from the trees?” If you don’t know the answer, there is always Google! Technology can still play a small role in nature!
Don’t think your kids are too old to reap these important benefits. You can start anytime at any age! It’s never too late to embrace nature. I hope you’ll get outside with your family this summer and enjoy all the wonders nature has to offer.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.