Are you a teacher looking at ways to get the kids to embrace the natural world? Or a parent trying to tear the little ones away from their screens?
It’s not easy; we’re living in a digital era that sees children favouring sitting on their Xbox or PlayStation rather than going outside to play sports with their friends (and mine are included here!).
This is largely due to the rise of technology. In fact, a recent survey states that children aged between 5 and 16 “spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen”. Teenage boys spend the most – a whopping average of eight hours a day.
This has sent many adults into panic. With child obesity on the rise and fears for mental wellbeing playing a part, it’s important that children are encouraged to get out into nature. Here are some of the best ways to do just that.
Encourage them to do one outdoor hobby
One of the best ways to get kids into nature is to encourage them to take up an outdoor hobby. There are loads to choose from, so there really is something for every child to enjoy. Those with heaps of energy to burn may enjoy tough physical sports such as rugby or hockey. Others with a competitive streak may enjoy strapping on their boots for a game of football or thrashing it out on a tennis court. If they don’t particularly enjoy competitive sports, why not encourage them to take up nature photography, bike riding or gardening?
Take them on an outdoor residential
If you want children to truly experience the great outdoors, a residential trip is always a great option. Firstly, it gives kids the opportunity to take part in outdoor pursuits they wouldn’t normally experience, such as canoeing, rock climbing and gorge walking. This will help them to connect to the natural environment and enjoy activities away from a TV or computer screen. Plus, it will teach them valuable life skills such as teamwork and communication. If you’re a teacher or parent looking to set up a residential trip, there are many places that offer these trips across the country, such as Bewerley Park in North Yorkshire and Hilltop Outdoor Centre near Norwich. You may just need to organise how to get there – one of the easiest and cost-efficient ways is to lease a minibus from a company such as Allied Fleet.
Do a weekly family outing
If you’re a parent wondering how on earth you can drag the kids away from the screen at the weekend, fear no more! Aim to do at least one family outing per week that involves getting out in nature together. This could be anything from a cycle ride to a dog walk, or whatever else you think of! If your children are young, keep them engaged by setting them a challenge. For instance, if you are going on an autumnal walk, ask them to collect as many conkers as they can find – the person with the most at the end wins. It will keep everyone entertained and connect get them with the natural world around them.
It may not be easy, but getting the kids outside and into nature will not only keep them physically fit and active, but also mentally healthy too. Why not take a trip out with the little ones today?
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