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Tips for Helping Your Kids Connect with Nature

You remember those days after school. Arriving home, you’d throw your backpack down, grab a snack, and beeline to play outside. We rarely watched television, or even played a video game. For the most part, we were outside in the fresh air and sunshine.IMG_1432

For many kids, those days are long gone. With an overload of enrichment activities and screen time crowding the space of free play for children, it’s becoming more important than ever to set aside time for the outdoors.

According to Hallie Jones, executive director, Laguna Canyon Foundation, “Spending time in nature is such an important part of childhood. Being in the wilderness gives kids the chance to be free, and creative, and it teaches them a deep respect for the natural world. Those are gifts that stay with kids their whole lives.”

So how can we jump start a love of outdoors for our kids? Try implementing some of these strategies:

Role Model and Play.Take time to set down your technology, drop the schedule and play with your kids outside. Set a good example about limiting tech time and your kids will be more likely to follow suit.

Create a Nature Photo Journal. Pick up a notebook or journal and explain to your kids the fun assignment of creating a nature photo journal. Bring a digital or disposable camera and allow them to take photos of the wonders of nature along the way. This is a great way to allow your child to feel a sense of ownership and reinforces the connection between nature and themselves.

Get Camping. Jones is a big believer in camping. “Kids love to camp, and it’s a great way to bond as a family,” she explains. By doing a quick Google search, you’ll see that Southern California has a plethora of camping destinations for both overnight and day trips.

An inspiring show of nature at Aliso Niguel Woods during a nature hike.

An inspiring show of nature at Aliso Niguel Canyon during a recent nature hike.

Schedule a Weekly Hike. Since we operate on daily routines, you can use this strategy to your advantage by scheduling a weekly hike.

To get you started, here are a few upcoming family nature events being held through the Laguna Canyon Foundation: Family Hike on Saturday, June 7, 3:00 p.m. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Weekend at the Nix with Dr. Sue’s Insect and Arthropod Zoo on Sunday, June 8, 1:00 p.m.

Reservations required. For more information, visit lagunacanyon.org/activities.

Jones concludes, “Spending time in nature gives kids a greater respect for the surrounding world and, as they grow up, inspires them to protect it.”

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

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