In an increasingly urbanised world where both adults and children alike are ‘always on’, connecting to nature is a brilliant way of letting the mind breathe.
Fostering a love of wildlife and the natural world early on in your child’s life can do wonders for their mental and physical health. Whether it’s a simple trip to the park to play spot-the-squirrel, or an excursion to a thriving nature reserve (with binoculars in tow), let’s discuss exactly what benefits the natural world can offer your children.
Loving Wildlife Means Loving The Environment
Let’s face it, planet earth is in a fragile state.Between global warming, pollution and the mass destruction of life-sustaining habitats, conservation has never been more vital. What better way to combat this than to inform and educate the next generation?
While it may be difficult to communicate these broader concepts to younger minds, children have no problem understanding the beauty of nature and that their favourite animals must be protected. A family excursion out into the woods, for example, can offer endless amounts of fun whilst providing an opportunity to teach the little ones about the importance of habitat conservation.
Pond-dipping with an old glass jar can provide endless fascination for children of all ages. Explaining how each animal floating within the jar plays a key part in the food chain should prove both fascinating and easy to understand. Frogspawn should start to appear in the spring too, so why not plan a trip around its arrival?
Let’s not forget our feathered friends, either! An afternoon of bird-watching is as educational as it is relaxing. Better yet, they’re easily spotted in a myriad of environments, from wetland centres and meadows to your local suburban park.
Birds thrive in a variety of habitats, so a day spent admiring them from afar shouldn’t be too difficult to plan. Why not make a day of it? Once you’ve found your spot, hunker down, lay out the picnic blanket and encourage the kids to keep a list of all the different species they find. Of course, they’ll need the right equipment if they’re to spot ‘em all. RSPB offers a selection of binoculars perfect for the job. And buying from a wildlife charity such as this means your money is reinvested in important conservation work. Funding conservation whilst raising the next generation of conservationists — that’s a win-win!
You’re Encouraging A Healthy Lifestyle
The great outdoors is not only home to some fascinating creatures, but the natural landscape can (with a little imagination) become a playground all of its own. Whether it’s building dens or climbing trees, a love of wildlife is synonymous with a love of the natural world. Play in nature is far less structured and promotes creativity.
Let loose in nature, children can think more freely and approach play intuitively. Playtime in nature provides plenty of stimulation too. Many senses that are normally left dormant in the confines of their bedroom – sight, touch, and smell – are heightened outdoors. As such, spending even just a short time out in nature can reduce fatigue and stress.
Moreover, a study conducted by the Institute of Education concluded that spending time in nature can improve children’s confidence. The study examined 451 children who took part in various wildlife activities. Their findings showed that afterwards, 84% of children believed they were capable of doing new things when they tried, as well as reporting better relationships with both their teachers and classmates.
Summary: Don’t Delay, Get Out And Play!
It’s often easy to ignore the wildlife on our doorstep, but take the time to educate your children about the wonders of the natural world and you’ll be amazed by the results.
Whether they’re rock-pooling on pebble beaches or bird-spotting in the backwoods – we hope you’ll find some time to nurture within them a love for creatures both great and small. Let’s face it; the benefits are clear to see!