The best way to help your child build a nature habit is to focus on creative arts activities related to nature. Nature is one of the best sources of inspiration for creative endeavors since it is filled with so many sights, sounds, smells, textures, colors, and other stimuli. There are endless opportunities to engage in various forms of environmental art, including music, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, dance, drama, and writing. Some ideas include:• Listen to songs about the environment and then have your children write their own lyrics to familiar tunes.• Go for a walk and ask your children to point out beautiful nature scenes. Take pictures during your adventure and then have your kids either draw or paint what they saw or put together a collage of the photos.• Ask your children to make up a dance about nature, such as trees blowing in the wind, ocean waves, different animal movements, or the way the weather changes throughout the seasons. • Read poetry about nature to your children and then challenge them to write their own.• Take art projects outdoors such as sidewalk chalk or bring an easel out in your backyard or on the balcony so they can paint.To learn more about the benefits of nature art for your family and to discover tons more fun ideas for nature art activities, check out Chapter 5 of my book Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer.
The best way to help your child build a nature habit is to focus on outdoor fitness and sports activities. Green exercise (or exercise that takes place outside in nature) is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and improve how we feel. Research shows that green exercise magnifies the general benefits of exercise, reducing stress and boosting mood. Nature walks, bike rides, and swimming are just a few examples of green exercise for you to engage in as a family. Some other ideas include:• See if your child wants to sign up for a team sport played in the open air, such as soccer, flag football, basketball, ultimate frisbee, baseball, softball, lacrosse, or beach volleyball.• Sign up for a family hiking challenge.• Try orienteering, a challenging outdoor adventure sport that exercises both the mind and the body. • Get involved in charity races such as running or biking.• Consider sending your child to a camp program with a wide variety of outdoor sports activities. To learn more about the benefits of green exercise for your family and to discover tons more fun ideas for outdoor play and fitness, check out Chapter 4 of my book Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer.
The best way to help your child build a nature habit is to focus on animals and citizen science projects. Animals can have a profound calming effect on children. Whether you have a pet at home or not, you can find all kinds of ways for your child to connect with animals, such as birdwatching, taking trips to zoos and nature centers, going to petting farms, and volunteering with animals. Here are some other ideas for activities that your animal lover will enjoy:• Walk a neighbor’s dog or take care of a friend’s pet while they are out of town.• Search for a therapy dog reading program at a local library in your community.• Spend some time at a therapeutic farm or equine center. • Plan trips around animal adventures, such as visiting animal theme parks, going whale watching, or going hiking to watch for wildlife. • Try some unique animal experiences like cow cuddling or goat yoga. Citizen science, which involves volunteering to collect scientific data, is a way for children to gain science experience and help the scientific community while spending time outdoors in nature. It has been found to benefit both the physical and mental development of children. There are citizen science opportunities for kids of all ages and levels. Your family can get involved from your own backyard or through a more organized group like a school nature or science club. Check out Citizenscience.gov, SciStarter, and Zooniverse to find citizen science projects. To learn more about the benefits of spending time with animals and participating in citizen science, and to discover tons more fun ideas, check out Chapters 6 and 8 of my book Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer.
The best way to help your child build a nature habit is to focus on outdoor travel and adventure activities. Your child is curious and daring, and loves to explore. Nature is the perfect setting for your child to discover exciting new activities and places. Bringing your child on outdoor family day trips and vacations can play a significant role in his or her happiness and personal growth, not to mention all the precious memories you will build together. These outdoor adventures help your child learn valuable skills and reach new challenges, resulting in feeling happier and more relaxed. Here are some ways to add more nature adventures to your family’s routine:• Block out time once a month to do something outside as a family and then increase the frequency over time as you see fit. Be specific and put it on the family calendar. • Create your own micro adventures, such as camping out in your backyard.• Turn everyday activities into an adventure, such as playing games outside like an “I Spy” hike. • Plan outings around naturally occurring events. Follow the science news to plan your family adventures around sunrises, sunsets, special moons like the harvest moon or blood moon, a solar eclipse, comets, and meteor showers. • Consider sending your child to a camp program with a wide variety of outdoor adventure activities. To learn more about the benefits of outdoor travel and adventure and to discover tons more fun ideas, check out Chapter 4 of my book Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer.
The best way to help your child build a nature habit is to focus on mindfulness and meditation.Mindfulness is the act of being fully present in the moment in a non-judgmental way. Research shows that being mindful can help us feel balanced and more at peace. Nature is the perfect place to practice mindfulness with its many soothing sights, sounds, and scents. Breathing outdoors, for example, helps us notice natural fragrances and the temperature while also taking in fresh oxygen as we connect with the greenery. There are many effective tools to help children practice mindfulness, including meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, and guided imagery. Here are some ways for kids to feel mindful from connecting with nature:• Visit nature-filled spots that will help your child be more mindful, such as forests, hiking trails, beaches, waterfalls, and botanical gardens. • Record your own nature sounds. Take along a recording device during a nature walk, trip to the beach, or other outdoor excursion. Capture those relaxing sounds to play again later.• Enjoy yoga outside and try some animal and nature type poses to engage your child. • Get adventurous and sign up for an animal yoga session as a family.• Have your child feel different textures in a mindful way. Examples include tree bark, grass, leaves, flower petals, stones, and friendly animals to pet.To learn more about the benefits of nature meditation and to discover tons more ideas, check out Chapter 2 of my book Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer.