WITH BELINDA LOVE
OF RAISING LITTLE WOMEN
Belinda Love, photographer and homeschooling mama to four girls, Emma 6, Eden 5, Eléa 2 and Esmé 1, shares simple ways to get little ones in touch with nature this autumn.
Here in Southern California, because of the pleasant weather and plenty of sunshine year around, we are able to be out in nature almost every day of the year. The diversity is great too! The beach, mountains, and desert are all just a short drive away. All kinds of parks are readily accessible from the local city parks to nature preserves to national parks! It just depends what type of adventure your up for that day! For as long as I can remember, even before children, nature has always been my “gym” or the way I would choose to destress, hiking in particular. Nothing compares to getting my heart pumping, breathing in that clean air in the quietness of the wilderness generally with a beautiful view as my reward for trekking up the mountain. So sharing my love for nature with my family genuinely makes me happy. It has become so important to our family that we joined a “homeschool nature group” with the purpose of meeting up once a week to do age-appropriate hikes with the children and to have nature studies.
THE BENEFITS OF BEING IN TOUCH WITH NATURE
Many studies have been done and show that being in touch with nature significantly improves all aspects of a child development such as physical, cognitive, social and emotional. For children, playing is learning and playing outdoors grows resilience, creativity and self-confidence. Also, being out in nature enables children to be just that, kids! They are able to run, jump, climb, roll and shout all which reduce anxiety, tension and restlessness. I don’t know about you, but when I’m out in nature, it seems to enhance my sense of peace over me.
For children, playing is learning and playing outdoors grows resilience, creativity and self-confidence.
HOW IT IMPACTS KIDS POSITIVELY
When we interact closely with nature like turning things over, climbing, collecting, identifying and journaling, it automatically tends to matter more to us. The best way children learn to have a healthy respect for the dangers of nature is by being in it. And when we get to know our environment and the creatures that live in it, we tend to respect it more. Developing an appreciation later grows into a passion to preserve as adults. They will want to take care of this beautiful planet we call home because they love being in it.
5 SIMPLE WAYS TO GET YOUR KIDS OUT INTO THE WORLD
#1 – Just go outside. It doesn’t have to be a faraway destination, just let them play in your backyard with no other distractions.
#2 – Let them find that joy and wonder for their natural environment, even if it means getting dirty.
#3 – Make time for unstructured outdoor play, reduce screen time and replace it with nature exploration.
#4 – Read about nature to your child. As a parent, you are their first source of inspiration.
#5 – If space allows, plant a small vegetable garden. This is a great way to spend quality time while enjoying the outdoors and getting in touch with nature.
With thanks to Belinda Love X
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