Get Outdoors & Connect With Nature
There’s no substitute for fresh air and outdoor play to help children feel healthy and happy. Interacting with nature is invaluable to a child’s development in terms of self-esteem, self-confidence and good health. Children, increasingly, seem to have less contact with the natural world and need to know that their planet is an amazing and inspiring place or the coming generations won’t value nature or the wildlife, placing it at serious risk. It is, then, best to encourage your kids to swap consoles and tellies for wildlife, nature and wellies as too much time spent in front of a TV screen and isolated, sedentary pastimes has led to a worrying disconnection with the natural world. Many children are growing up to feel that nature is unavailable which then limits outdoor experiences and the development of imagination. Children should be urged to ‘get outdoors’, whether it’s to dead-head roses with grandparents, build a garden den, watch sparrows and other urban birds from a balcony, or feed birds at the local park.
Tips for Watching Nature with Kids
- The more wildlife you look at, the better you and your children will get at identifying different species – so grab a good nature guide book for kids and see what you can spot!
- Go somewhere where you can see birds easily.
- Noise scares most wildlife away, so explain this to children before you start. Be as patient, quiet and observant as you can to spot watch rabbits eating, or a deer strolling through a field. Don’t get too close or move too quickly – wildlife is unlikely to stick around.
- Try to get out in the early morning and at dusk when nature is most active.
- Don’t know what you’ve seen? Check the Internet for a very wide variety of the same species. Birds don’t always look like they do in the books – so it pays to remember that, much like humans, every bird is slightly different. You may not get an exact match to the photos or illustrations in a book.
- Keen to do more? Form wildlife watch groups in your area. These groups are run by people who enjoy working with children and have an enthusiasm and concern for wildlife and the environment. They inculcate, within children, a caring attitude towards wildlife and participation in conservation, create factual, informal, fun ways to investigate the surroundings and ensure that their environmental concerns, ideas and opinions are recognised and opportunities are created to act upon them.