How To Encourage Your Child's Love for the Outdoors
Most children love playing and exploring the outdoors. They’ll jump in every muddy puddle and will try to climb every tree. Recent research suggests that playing outdoors is great for your kids, too. Playing outdoors is like “rocket fuel” for growth and helps children develop the skills they need later in life.
However, some children would prefer not to roam the great outdoors or explore spooky caves. This is understandable, as they get the same dopamine release from sitting on the couch with their tablet or console.
As a parent, you can encourage your child to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Set them up for success by planning road trips together and ensuring that they are properly fed and hydrated before venturing into the great outdoors.
Nutrition for Play
Just like adults, children need to eat a balanced diet and stay well-hydrated to maintain their energy levels. If your child seems sluggish or becomes tired quickly, you may want to take a look at their meals and track how much water they are drinking.
As a general rule, children between the ages of 4 and 13 should drink 6 to 8 fluid glasses per day. If your child is on the younger end of that spectrum, you can track their fluid intake and pack them with extra water if needed. Older children should be encouraged to maintain their own hydration levels but might need some extra encouragement from time to time.
Adventurous children need a range of nutrients to sustain their playfulness. The CDC recommends that children eat a range of fruits and vegetables, combined with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and a variety of protein sources. Filling your child up with nutritious foods ensures that they have all the energy they need to explore the great outdoors from sunrise to sunset.
Going on adventures is an integral part of childhood development. However, walking out into nature with nothing but a gaggle of friends can be risky. You never know when an accident will happen, and someone is bound to fall out of the tree or twist their ankle eventually.
You can keep your child safe while encouraging their curiosity by sending them off with a smartwatch. Child-appropriate smartwatches can give you peace of mind and a direct link to your child at all times. Smartwatches are capable of sending texts and alerts to your child so they’ll know exactly when they have to start heading home for dinner.
You should also have a safety chat with your child before they go on an adventure with their friends. It’s important that they stick together as a group and don’t trespass on any private or dangerous property. Use geofences on their smartwatch to ensure that they don’t go beyond agreed-upon boundaries, and check in on them every so often.
Exploring the great outdoors together is a great way to bond as a family and make memories that last a lifetime. Everyone remembers the road trips they took as a child, as seeing new states and sights leaves a lasting impression on every curious kid.
When planning a trip, bring the whole family together to choose the route. Give your child options between the best national parks for road-tripping. Show them options like:
- The Great Smoky Mountains;
- Crater Lake;
- Big Bend.
These national parks are home to stunning views and plenty of wildlife. They’re also accommodating for families and should have plenty of hotels and child-appropriate activities to partake in.
Plan a few child-friendly road trip activities to alleviate boredom and keep your child’s spirits high. Driving for hundreds of miles with nothing but the radio is sure to bore your child and turn your dream trip into a nightmare. Consider activities like:
- Crafting in the car;
- Activity breaks like kayaking and museum visits;
- New toys and window stickers.
Take your time and ensure that your child is entertained and occupied for most of the trip. Even small considerations, like packing a new book or coloring pencils, can distract your child long enough to make it to the next stop.
Children are natural stewards of the earth. They care about the impact that we have on the ecosystem and have great empathy for the animals affected by climate change. You can deepen your child’s love of the outdoors by teaching them about environmentalism.
Start with some hands-on activities. Have them plant vegetables and compost scraps from lunch and dinner. This will capture their imagination and get them excited about being outside.
Follow up outdoor activities with short lessons about the importance of environmental stewardship. You can teach your children about pollution, climate change, and deforestation from a young age and you might be surprised by how much they can take on board.
Children of all ages love playing in the great outdoors — some just need some extra encouragement. Ensure that your child is ready to explore by feeding them nutritious food and keeping them hydrated throughout the day. Consider investing in a smartwatch that can help you monitor their activity. If you’re planning on taking a road trip, plan extra stops for your child and give them some crafting activities to take their mind off the road.