As I wrap up my summer classes, I have been trying to make plans with my kids that will get them out of their comfort zones. They are 2 and 4 years old so this will be really easy, but I am hoping the more I get them in different situations, the more comfortable they will be with the unknown as they grow up. This will also be a challenge for myself because I will be out of my comfort zone as well. It can be overwhelming to take toddlers out and about, and most of the time, things don’t go quite as planned. I try not to let it discourage me to keep trying new things with my kids but some days are harder than others.
My goal this summer is to overcome my anxieties about getting out more with my kids and to give them the same experiences that I had in the outdoors growing up in hopes of teaching them about nature and inspiring their sense of adventure. I want them to have new experiences where they can learn and explore to help them build self-confidence and strength.
I grew up camping all around Nevada with my family, and I have the best memories from all of our adventures. I know that it made me appreciate the outdoors and feel comfortable with nature as well. From learning to make a fire, catch a fish and the importance of paying close attention to my surroundings, camping made me more self-reliant and aware that there is endless land to explore away from the city limits.
Here are some reasons why I am passionate about getting kids outside and the benefits that go along with it:
Family Time: Exploring new places is a great way to bond as a family, and the outdoors offers a lot of new things to see and learn without the distractions of work and electronics. It is important for kids (and adults) to learn about the world around them and create memories of doing it together.
Presence: Nature offers a lot of stimulation to the senses. There is so much beauty in the outdoors and it can also be very peaceful. It is a great place or kids to learn while being present and mindful of their environment.
Exercise and Adventure: The outdoors lets kids play with less structure and new challenges like climbing rocks and hiking trails. They get more exercise than they do indoors, build up their endurance, and get Vitamin D. There is plenty to learn about the outdoors and how things work in nature. Giving kids this experience now will set them up with an appreciation for adventure and a healthy, active lifestyle.
Self-Reliance and Confidence: Kids figure out how to rely on their instincts, learn safety, and the importance of paying attention to their surroundings. They also learn to entertain themselves outside of screen time and toys in a way that makes them think and ask questions to better understand the environment. Sometimes kids and even parents have a fear of the outdoors and the unknown, but the only way to disprove your feelings of fear is to face them and learn that there really is very little to fear, and the more you do it, the more you will be prepared for anything that could happen.
I hope you all get out and enjoy this beautiful weekend and take the time to go outdoors and explore!