Many parents worry about how much time their kids spend in front of screens. Phones, TVs, tablets, computers – screens are hard to get away from. Here are some activities that will help get your kids outdoors and unplugged.
Hiking can be another good way to get out, get active, and get away from screens. Hiking gives kids a task to focus on and directs their attention away from their phones – which probably won’t be of much use anyway.
Many hiking trails are in areas with little or no phone service; however, it’s important to have at least one cell phone in the party in emergencies.
Use Local Nature Walks and Walking Trails
Nature walks or strolls on local walking trails can be a more accessible, lower-impact alternative to hiking. Many towns have parks or paved walking trails accessible to strollers, wheelchairs, bikes, and wagons.
They can be great for short walks or longer family outings to get your restless kids used to spending time outdoors.
Nature photography is an engaging and educational way to foster your child’s connection with the natural world. Start with simple cameras or smartphones and teach them the basics of composition and lighting.
Explore outdoor settings like parks and forests, helping your kids identify captivating subjects such as flowers, wildlife, and landscapes.
Encourage them to maintain a photo journal, emphasizing patience and observation while respecting the environment. Display and share their work, and consider joining photography clubs to nurture their creativity.
Nature photography not only enhances their appreciation of nature but also hones their artistic and observational skills, kindling a lifelong passion for both photography and the environment.
Visit Nature Centers
Nature centers are a great way to get your kids interested in the outdoors. Many larger state and national parks have educational nature centers or museums with displays and exhibits featuring local wildlife and geology.
Likewise, many centers gear their displays toward a younger crowd, which can help inspire a life-long interest in nature.
Camping is a great way to spend a lot of time out in nature. Believe it or not, camping doesn’t have to be an unplugged activity.
Many campers like to run small amounts of power at their campsite for lighting, to inflate air mattresses, power heaters, and yes-charge phones. You can power a campsite pretty much anywhere, thanks to green technology like solar generators.
Canoeing and Kayaking
When the weather gets warm, canoeing or kayaking can be a fun way to beat the heat while spending time outdoors. This is a great way to see fish and other aquatic life.
Be warned – this activity is better if you have multiple people who can paddle – either other adults or older children. Paddling alone can get tiring fast, especially when towing little ones.
Go Star Gazing
Star gazing is an easy and fun way to spend time outside with the family. Lay a blanket out on a clear night, and watch your kid’s imagination go wild.
If you live somewhere with a lot of light pollution, such as a town or city, try going to a park or open space in the suburbs. You can also find constellation maps online – or help your kids make their own!
Gardening and Planting
Gardening and planting with your children is an enriching and educational way to deepen their connection with nature.
Start by acquiring basic gardening tools and teaching them the fundamentals of planting and plant care, exploring various plant types and noting the role of pollinators like bees and insects.
Choose a garden space, plan and plant together, and encourage active observation and journaling of the plants’ progress.
Once your plants bear fruits, vegetables, or flowers, involve your kids in harvesting and using them, fostering a sense of accomplishment.
Use gardening as a platform to discuss environmental values, sustainability, and the importance of green spaces, nurturing a lifelong love for gardening and the natural world while imparting valuable life lessons.
Bird watching is an engaging and educational activity that can ignite your child’s interest in nature. Equip yourselves with kid-friendly binoculars and a bird field guide or identification app, then choose a quiet location in a park, nature reserve, or your own backyard.
Research local bird species and discuss their unique features. Encourage your kids to maintain a bird-watching journal, teaching them to be patient and quiet while observing.
Creating a bird feeder in your yard can attract various species for close-up encounters. Explore diverse habitats, join local bird-watching groups, and document their findings through photographs or drawings.
Emphasize the importance of respecting birds and their environments, fostering a lifelong love for the natural world and its avian inhabitants.
Screens are inescapable these days, but there are still many fun ways to interest your kids in the outdoors.
Doing activities together, like camping, hiking, visiting parks, star gazing, canoeing, or going on simple walks, can help your kids associate nature with pleasant memories and hopefully spark a love of the outdoors. The key is to spend time together and have fun doing it.
Jean Smith is a fitness enthusiast and blogger who focuses on fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She is passionate about assisting people in living healthier lifestyles and is constantly on the lookout for new and creative methods to stay fit and healthy. Her articles are excellent resources for anyone interested in improving their health and fitness.