Kids today are spending more time on the couch and less time enjoying the natural world outside.
Many children today suffer from “nature deficit disorder.” That means that today there is a generation of kids that has limited contact with the natural world due to a variety of factors.
Why Don’t Kids Play Outside Anymore?
Many adults of today can easily remember lazy summer days filled with outdoor activities. But today, safety concerns cause many parents to limit their children’s time outside. Kids who are raised on a steady diet of electronic media may become accustomed to being “entertained” and have difficulty shifting their attention to a less “stimulating” activity. Some kids don’t have access to safe, healthy outdoor environments, and others are involved in so many structured activities there is no time left over for creative outdoor play.
Why Do Kids Need to Be Outside More?
Outside play, with its fresh air and physical activity, is the natural cure for those kids who would prefer to sit and play video games or watch TV all day. With childhood obesity at all time highs, it’s imperative that kids get off the couch and get active. Interaction with nature can help spark curiosity, imagination, and creativity. It can also be a great stress reliever and may provide some relief for symptoms of ADD and depression.
Encourage kids of all ages to get outside as much as possible. Try one of these ideas:
Nature Activities for Teens
Camping is a great way to enjoy time outdoors. There are plenty of campgrounds that offer nature trails, bike paths, and other outdoor recreation for teenagers.Camping Essentials for Families 10 Tips for Camping with Kids
Go Biking or Hiking.
Biking or hiking are two great activities to get teens outside to enjoy some fresh air and to enjoy the scenery.
Plant a Garden.
Nothing tastes better than a fresh salad made with home-grown vegetables. Teens will learn valuable skills such as planning and organization while benefiting from physical exertion and fresh air.
Watch the Birds.
Purchasing, or better yet, building, a simple birdhouse can turn any backyard into the go-to spot for local feathered friends. Place feeders close enough to windows to afford an unobstructed view, fill with birdseed, and be patient.How to Make a Pine Cone Bird Feeder
Play in the Sand.
Sand play isn’t just for little kids. Sifting, dumping, and building can be fun and relaxing for kids of all ages. Add molds, water, vehicles, and other details to create elaborate roads, buildings, and waterways.
Stare at the Sky.
The sky is full of simple yet amazing things; all you need to do is lie down on your back in the grass and look up. Check out the shapes clouds make in the sky, or the way the sky changes color at sunrise and sunset.
If your teenager is into reading, change up their reading location and have them read outside.
Outside play doesn’t have to be complicated or elaborate. In fact, some of the best ideas are often the simplest.Check out more tips for moms with teenagers!