April is Earth Month and April 22 is Earth Day. This years theme is about earth play for earth day. Research suggests unstructured outdoor play improves childhood development, health and wellbeing, and appreciation for their environment. Kids today are spending less and less time outside exploring the great outdoors. I have fond memories of spending hours outside with my brothers building forts, climbing trees, and going on long walks in the forest. Let’s help our future generations connect with mother nature and protect it by going outside and playing on Earth Day (and everyday).
Tips to connect kids to mother nature:
1). Go for a hike:
Here on the West Coast we can step out our front door and are surrounded by mother nature. Invite friends and allow kids to touch, smell, and explore the forest. Hiking and exploring with friends is a great way engage your children.
2). Visit a farmers market:
The farmer’s market is a great place for kids to learn where their food comes from. Kids can enjoy food samples, face painting, and music. Make it a fun experience. Allow your kids to pick out a new fruit or vegetable. Encourage them to talk to farmers about their farming practices and arrive early to the market so the kids have an opportunity to talk to these farmers before the crowds arrive.
3). Plan a Scavenger hunt:
What kids doesn’t like a game? Get a group of friends together and head to a local park. Have a list of nature related objects for players to find. Give out environmental friendly prizes such as reusable grocery bags.
4). Plant a garden:
Another great way to teach kids where their food comes from is to plant a garden. Its doesn’t have to be big, some plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs grow well in pots. Most kids love to help and enjoy playing with the dirt. Since moving into our house, I let the girls pick out some seeds, plant them, and water them. The excitement on their faces are priceless when the carrots start to appear. I fondly remember the first time we grew tomato plants on our patio, Miss E ate them like they were candy.
5). Be a good role model:
As parents we try to be great role models for our kids. Teach our kids how to protect our planet by using reusable grocery bags, recycling, using environmentally friendly products and eating more vegetarian meals. Discuss the importance of protecting our environment and finally enjoy and explore mother nature as a family.
For more outdoor family fun activities check out participation 150 play list for a list of a 150 outdoor activities. How are you celebrating Earth day?
Happy Earth Day!