Birds and the bees have always come to the aid of parents when explaining difficult concepts in life. Nature has it’s own way of communicating with children and teaching them difficult concepts in simple ways. Beyond the obvious health benefits of being in nature, here are some precious gifts that forests give kids.
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In the modern world many parents have to rely on television, tablets or mobiles to distract their kids or keep them busy and occupied. This might appear to be an easy and quick solution to get children to quieten down and give some breathing space to the parents, but one has to consider the actual impact of this habit and the long term consequences.
Technology works by stimulating the brain and invigorating the senses. And as with all stimulants it can be addictive in nature. In the long run, this habit may lead to abnormal times being spent in front of a screen. This has a very bad affect in the development of a child’s physical, mental and social skills.
On the other hand, when children spend time in nature their bodies and minds experience multiple benefits. Nature has a calming effect on the senses and provides positive energy for the body through physical exercise. The less evident benefits of being outdoors is the growth in the child’s understanding of life and development of the child’s value systems. The children begin to realise that they are part of a larger more complex world. They learn to give respect and take responsibility. The concept of inter dependence and frailty of humans teaches them invaluable lessons of gratitude and humility.
LIST OF BENEFITS
- Sense of discovery and wonder
- Joy, Excitement, Curiosity
- Improved attention spans
- Greater calm, lesser tantrums
- Sharper observation skills
- New friendships
- Better health & immunity
- Higher self-confidence
- Greater respect and responsibility
- Gratefulness and humility
With new knowledge and new research proving the benefits of being in nature, it is time to cut back on the screen time and go outdoors to have some fun. Spending time in nature is not just a great opportunity for growing your child as a person, but also growing close together as a family.
*forest art by Shohei Emura
ACTIVITIES WITH KIDS
Here are some fun activities to do with kids in the forests
Animal Poses: Ask the kids to make poses to imitate the different animals or birds they might spot.
Silent Walking: Set up a short interval of time to walk in silence and observe all that you can. At the end of the silent walk you can discuss the different things one observed.
Nature and Art: Create some wonderful art using materials found in the forest.
Show and Tell: Create a sense of discovery and curiosity in your child by asking them to collect something unique from the woods and create a story about it. Go home and read about the new things that you find in the forest.
*Inputs by Nancy D’Antonio
If you any more suggestions or interesting exercises, please send us an email and we’ll add to this post.
NATURE AND KIDS
Children are the inheritors of our future. If we can instil a love for nature in them, we have chance a building a cleaner, greener planet and overcoming the challenges that the changing climate may bring about.
Here’s a short film that talks about how simple actions can help our children create a better future and a better world.
Healing Forest is a project to explore fascinating forests and collect inspiring stories of healing from nature. Our aim is simple. Helping people heal. Helping Forests heal.
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