Monday, December 11, 2017

12 Reasons You Should Take Nature Walks with Your Kids...Any Time of Year!

            Hey folks! I've been slacking about letting/making the kids get outside as often as they usually do since the temperature has dropped lately. My goal is to get out more this winter too...Mostly because I know my kids will drive me absolutely crazy if we stay cooped up inside too much. It's already on my list to make sure each of them have appropriate gear for when it gets really cold/snowy. Third trimester of pregnancy or not, we're playing outside this winter!
             With that being said, I had (what I hope is) a good idea for a blog post the other day when we took a short, impromptu nature walk at home. I'm sure I've left a lot of good points out, but here are some of my thoughts to get you motivated to get outdoors with your kids...Any time of year!

*Exercise-I know. Obvious one. That's why I thought we'd start out with it. Everyone, including children, can benefit from some exercise, especially after being cooped up at school or at work, in your case.
*Fresh Air-Getting some fresh air outside is a great escape from stuffy indoor air, especially during the colder months when you're not as likely to spend as much time outdoors. Plus, unless you have, for example, some kind of respiratory illness, I believe getting fresh air can help alleviate sickness. Mine and Myka's noses were both less stuffy after we got done with our short walk the other day!
*Better Sleep-Yes, it is said that exercise helps wake you, but it also helps you sleep better as well!
*Less Grouchy-At least personally, I have found that my 5 year old seems to be less grouchy when we are outside more often.
*Burn Off Extra Energy-Most kids, at least at some point or another, can benefit from burning some extra energy off, right?! And again, in theory, it should help them fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. (Plus, who wants to deal with a hyper kid at the end of the day, amiright?)
*Physical Development-Walking with little ones and letting older kids climb trees, play in the creek, etc. along the way helps with gross motor development. Plus, if you do some close up investigating of bugs and whatnot, that helps with fine motor development!
*Risk Analysis-To go along with the previous point, kids can get a lot of experience with risk analysis in the woods if you let them. (Within reason, of course.) Let them climb on those logs. Let them try to climb that tree. Let them walk across stones in a creek. Unless your child is just really rambunctious and reckless, oftentimes children are better at judging what is safe and what is not more than we give them credit for.
*Educational/learning opportunities-I feel like this one probably goes without saying too, like exercise. There are SO many things you can learn about from going on nature walks: animal habitats, bird, tree, and plant identification, seasonal changes, etc. You can even talk about survival skills, if you're feeling adventurous!
*Become Aware of Your Surroundings-We all worry about “stranger danger” and safety in busy/public places with our kids. But, I don't know about you, I wish my 5 year old were more aware of her surroundings and paid better attention to what she is doing in general, no matter the location. I feel like nature walks helps with this, even if just briefly. As a matter of fact, she found two possum skeletons on our walk the other day that I probably wouldn't have even noticed until I stepped on them!
*Learn to Respect Nature-I think this applies to both adults AND children. You know what they say, if they develop a love for nature, they will naturally start respecting it and wanting to protect it. Again with learning opportunities, talk about how litter can harm wildlife and “leaving no trace behind”. (I think collecting some treasures, if you're not at a public place where it isn't allowed anyways, is ok before anyone gets their panties in a bunch. ;) )
*Time to Talk-Families are busy nowadays. School, work, extracurricular activities, and so on, it can become difficult to spend real quality time together. Taking nature walks together kind of forces you to slow down, in a good way, and be able to talk about what's going on in everyone's lives.
*Help with Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms-Even though we already talked about health benefits, I saved this one until the end since it applies more to adults. When looking up natural ways to help alleviate SAD symptoms, the main one you will find is getting more sunlight/vitamin C and D, which go hand in hand! I have issues with this and do find the more time I spend outdoors, the better off I am.

Do you get your kids out regardless of what time of year it is? What benefits would you add to this list?
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  1. I adore this! I've been adding in nature walks to all of my posts about family activities and this just makes my point more concrete! Get the kiddos off of the electronics and out burning energy and using their minds!

    1. Yes! I'd like to think our kids aren't addicted to electronics in the way that a lot are nowadays, but we have been struggling with her Minecraft obsession lately. :/ She actually wanted to play outside yesterday, so that made me happy!

  2. Less Grouchy! OMG! It has been raining non-stop for the past two days and the kids has just got stuck inside. By the third day, they have become very Grouchy! So I've decided that was it. No more staying at home. It was freezing and windy outside, but we took a quick bike ride to the local shop. They have slept well. :) x

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