We want to share a wonderful resource for people who have children in their life and want to get them outdoors, exploring the natural world. It’s a short, very accessible booklet on how to get youngsters comfortable being outdoors and why it’s important to do so. You can download A Parents’ Guide to Nature Play: How to Give Your Children More Outdoor Play…and Why You Should! by clicking on the title.
This short, easy-to-read guide (just 20 pages!) briefly explains the problem, then tells us everything we need to fix it. Childhood has changed – over a very short period of time – to include far less outdoor time. We are only just beginning to recognize how important nature play is to a child’s physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual growth and development. After all, for millennia, humans essentially lived outside!
The booklet offers three factors key to great nature play: the right place (someplace that has ‘elemental nature’ such as rocks, dirt, trees, mud, plants, bugs); the right kind of play (play initiated by the child, not the adult); and the right kind of re-play (which requires proximity and frequency).
It then provides great suggestions for how to get your kids outdoors and how to facilitate unstructured nature play. The authors understand that many children may respond with, “I’m bored” and have tips for dealing with such responses. It offers ways to ‘kidscape’ your yard (dirt piles to play logs to leaf piles and more), suggestions for family play (backyard campouts, picnicking under the stars, scavenger hunts, and more), and lists nature play tools that will stimulate curiosity and exploration. Finally, it includes tips on how to stay safe in nature.
If you struggle to engage the child in your life with nature, take a minute to download and read this wonderful guide. With a little careful guidance, you can transform the children in your life into intrepid nature adventurers.
In a future post, we’ll add a few pro-tips from CREA educators and camp staff who are experts about how to get children excited about nature!
This wonderful resource was written by funded by the Jeffers Foundation, whose mission is to encourage children to be good stewards of the environment.