|Nature-themed playtime is meant to raise a generation of kids who value good and green lives.|
In exchange of precious time with nature-based playtime that is doused with imaginative and unstructured play, kids are subject to shorter or even non-existent recess or downtime. Children who are wired with careless and carefree curiosity are no longer found in outdoor playgrounds. These kids have been confined to the constricts of too cerebral and too calculated classrooms and have forgone park visits. With media’s direct and indirect attacks against free play and safety, parents and teachers have shut down the charm and lessons that are best devoured in nature, while at play.
Surprisingly though, a Danish study reported that parents and even grandparents believed that one of the most effective way to ignite child development is by being in an outdoor area instead as opposed to perfecting skills needed for organized sports. Of course, we can not discount the fact that safe and fun community playgrounds, parks and other nature-inclined hubs have sharply decreased, but that does not mean they’re inaccessible. We encourage you to take a break from your screen and get your kids for a walk in the park while considering these nature-themed projects and tips to give hope to 66% of children who believe that their experiences with nature whether it be with parents, siblings, or friends is a life-enriching encounter.
Dream Team, Dream Theme
Kids are often daydreaming and are attuned with habits that are highly amusing and sometimes, even unimaginable. Kristina Towill, a mom and a psychologist advocates out of door playtime that is scientifically tested as a channel to tap creativity and critical skills. Encounter with play spaces that are inspired by the outdoors and the nature tickle the minds of kids especially when they are the creators of their own stories.
|Row, row, row your boat, freely down the stream of dream, little one!|
Conquer Fright, Conquer Height
|Classic playtime is a good way to attain physical, emotional and spiritual development for kids of all ages.|
“No Parking” Park Play Day
Teachers and parents can work together to reinstill the precious 60 minutes per day for physical activity and unstructured play recommendation from no less than the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. Consider organizing a school day for parents and kids to gather in a park. The added catch is that the cars must be left in an area that is 15 minutes away from the park. Studies reported that cars usually get in the way of kids and time with nature and play as they are too dependent on getting from one place to another with the least possible time and effort. Kids would rather jump in a car instead of taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or take a good bike ride. This is also another reason why a community’s connection turns disconnected or maligned. It is no longer uncommon for adults to take a step back when a child needs help in the fear of being accused as abducting a minor.
|Bike rides and picnic take kids off their sedentary lifestyle.|
It’s about time to live in nature and get back on the communal track which is after all, sustainable and practical. Park amenities are not only provided by the government for the sake of compliance to a community. Instead, these outdoor areas are nature-based play spaces where kids can get fit, while adults get to know the community as they find their niche on their neighborhood, too. Go ahead, park that car. Hop on a bike or take walk around. Prepare homemade healthy snacks and share it with a group of hungry kids after their happy high with nature and free play. There’s such a simple yet profound joy in taking time to stop and smell the flowers, even in these modern days.
Eco Evolution Begins with a Crayon
A brush with nature-themed play equates to the risk of too much heat and an insect sting or two. But, when kids get to taste and feel the outdoors, they are likely to sharpen their creative and critical spheres. Get back to basic and be inspired to take kids to a journey with nature art. Gather recycled art materials like leftover crayons, used papers, and stacks of old buttons, ribbons, and even scattered stones and sand. Let their spirits and dreams run free as you hold an art lesson that is followed by a mini art exhibit.
|Frame of mind. Frame your kids’ masterpiece to remind them that an encounter with the outdoors is worthwhile and sustainable.|
Best Access Awards Day
Since Americans are gradually shifting to nature-themed lifestyle, brands and businesses are looking at ways to limit their carbon footprint and giving back to their communities. At present, recreational areas like zoos can do more with their commercial playgrounds. For instance, part of the funds they collect from visitors may be used to empower kids with autism. They can even hold a recognition day for talented kids with special needs in their very own accessible playgrounds. On top of opening the community’s eye to recognize the rights of these kids, commercial playgrounds could be utilized as a platform for changing the usual notion that goes with autism -that is being unable to be productive members of a society.
|Dig deeper. Breathe better. Be an advocate of kids with special needs through fun and safe play.|
Switch Back, Switch Off
Do we switch off the technology-centric button of this modern world for our kids to get back on track?
Cliché as it may seem, the key to this puzzle is doing everything in moderation. Take time to give time for school and real encounter with the world beyond homework and soccer games. Consciously exert the effort to switch sedentary screen time to nature-inspired free play time. It’s not difficult to get back to basics, really. Start with walking around the block as you rediscover precious child-driven lessons found in a nearby playground in a park. Ignite that imagination and a brush with much deserved series of serious learning time, found in nature-themed playtime.