Children and nature go together. Research shows children need to be exposed to nature at early ages to help them live physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
These days, however, most kids prefer to stay inside their houses or the classroom, holding on to their smartphones and tablets as their only piece of entertainment or learning device. Sooner or later, many will realize the need for more nature than they need new buildings and gadgets.
It is always best to start early in helping children appreciate the beauty and diversity of nature and the bountiful resources that the Earth continues to bring us, despite our many cases of abuse of it.
Here are a few ideas to start with:
Plan a field trip to a nature center
Take your pick from the various Minnesota nature centers, such as Carpenter Nature Center, which provide various learning experiences for kids of all ages. Let your children go on guided hiking trails for beginners, get up-close with local flora and fauna, or help wildlife workers care for animals.
Tree-planting is one of the most fun activities for children. For one thing, there’s going to be a lot of messy digging up in the dirt; they’d like that. And the children are going to plant something that will live and grow with them as they go through their years and perhaps even outlive them.
Go to the beach
Sun, sand, and sea. What could be more enjoyable to kids that a combination of the three? There are plenty of activities you can enjoy with your kids at the beach. Swimming, snorkelling or even canoeing for older children can help them appreciate the importance of keeping marine life healthy.
Teach kids to recycle
Talk to your kids about how recycling can help you leave as little damage to Mother Earth as possible. Tell them where paper comes from and what happens to plastic and metal cans. Let them decorate their own recycling bins and take them on a trip to the recycling center.
By helping your children to appreciate nature better, you can allow them to realize their impact on Mother Earth and her impact on their lives as well. Hopefully, by teaching children the value of keeping our home planet healthy, we can leave this world at least a little better for the future generations to come.