As Heike Freire says “Be connected to nature should be a childhood fundamental right in our societies”
We are sure that you won’t be surprised if we tell you that most children spend a big portion of their free time behind a tv. screen, in closed places or using electronic devices. This causes them to move away from real experiences which transform children to be spectators of their environment filled with unreal expectations and technological stimuli. Consequently, it is important to determine this scenario in order to know what will be the outcome?
It is necessary to ask ourselves some questions: Do your children enjoy playing outdoors? How much time do they connect with nature during the week or maybe in a month?
If your answers are not positive or encouraging problems that can arise can be motor skills and language problems, obesity, asthma, stress, attention-deficit/hyperactivity and emotional disorders…. Those are just some of the issues that children with these habits show every day. We have read several medical reports and statistics keep increasing as the days go by.
Every day we face these diseases in our society. Nevertheless, it is an environment that we as adults are responsible for, and our children are the victims. We can make the change to allow our children to explore and really dive into the wonderful world in our own backyards!
Children need nature
Children feel attracted by nature spontaneously and when they play outdoors, they can develop in various healthy ways in all different areas of development (physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual).
Nature is a source of inspiration, wisdom and it provides a connection not only with life but with oneself. Moreover, it favors and enhances learning processes. When children play with nature they learn and respect other ways of life such as plants and animals. At the same time, they identify themselves with other life elements such as wind, fire, and water. That is why they need to spend more time in contact with nature.
Nature awareness in children
How can we be part of a more responsible society with children? What can we do?
We need to make a change of approach that will help us to become conscious about what we are provoking in our children in order to take action. Next is a short and detailed but key list of outdoor activities for our children:
1. Explore nature as a family. For example, go to the park to take a walk and identify elements such as trees, plants, animals among others.
2. Listen and feel nature sounds, textures, colors and odors. Sharpen your senses and try to listen to the birds and sounds caused by the wind in the trees.
3. Set time aside to play outside in natural spaces every day. Plan family trips to plain fields, beach trips, and try to go camping at the mountain.
4. Avoid the use of video games, electronic toys and if it is necessary to establish a set time for it. For example, a maximum of an hour.
5. Foster healthy, free play using open-ended toys, not structured ones. These will help their imagination, creativity, and movement! Allow for lot of movement!!
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