We often complain that weekends aren’t long enough so when a long weekend comes along, it’s worth making the most of it especially if means extra time with children.
This weekend is the Queen’s birthday long weekend, June 7 – 9. As it arrives just as winter begins to set in why not take the opportunity to get close to nature before we are all cooped up inside in front of the heater.
There is so much research that shows that our children are having less contact with the natural world than ever before, and it is not surprising that this is impacting their health and development. The best-selling book ‘Last Child in the Woods’ talks about several compelling links between many of the problems our children are facing today and their lack of direct exposure to nature.
As our world requires a focus on sustainability and taking care of our natural environment, what better way to encourage a passion for the natural world than to show children the beauty in it.
Here are some ideas that you can incorporate into your long weekend with your family, or even for educators to consider for their centres:
-Planting. Get out into the garden and plant flowers, trees, vegetables or herbs. What a fantastic life skill for anyone to have, not to mention the garden will look great.
-Walks. Walking is good for us all and there are many proven health benefits from walking in natural open spaces. Try walking tracks, bushland or even the beach, but if walking isn’t for you then maybe a bike ride.
-Collecting rocks, shells, leaves, branches. This could do you a favour if your yard needs a tidy up, or you could head out and do some exploring. Children’s faces will light up as they find all sorts of natural objects and experience the unique textures and colours of each. You may even like to use them to create a work of art.
Not only are these actives fun and full of health benefits, but they are low cost if not free as well. What an easy and relaxing way to bond with children over their discovery of elements within the world we all share this coming long weekend, or in fact any time.
Below you’ll find some handy links to help you find inspiration and ideas for keeping children entertained, enlightened and close to nature.
- 60 Nature Play Ideas for Kids: http://theimaginationtree.com/2012/08/60-nature-play-ideas-for-kids.html
- Blog by Nature Play Qld about getting our kids outdoors: http://www.natureplayqld.org.au/blog/today-our-playgrounds-and-play-spaces-are-so-controlled-that-its-not-just-the-risk-we-have-removed-for-our-children/
- Fun Nature actives from the Forest Foundation: https://www.forestfoundation.org/family-activities-in-nature
- Inspiration from the Kids in Nature Network: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kids-In-Nature-Network/218875424804648