Kids today are amazing. Somehow because of the world that they were born into, that eight year old is probably able to program computers, actually use all those little apps your cell phone has, and probably even get into your electronic bank account. They speak in a different language of Internet and technical speak, and you know what? They probably love it. Technology is the ultimate distraction, because you can find pretty much anything that you want to (and probably a lot of things that parents don’t want). The simple joy of going outside and creating a lasting relationship with the environment should not be overlooked, though. The benefits of getting your kids to go outside during free time are endless:
This one is obvious, but I don’t think that it can be taken seriously enough. It is impossible to deny—the world constantly goes towards taking physical labor out of every task possible, which may be more efficient, but it can be unhealthy. A body in motion stays in motion, and kids who associate exercise with positive experiences are more likely to continue keeping themselves fit and healthy throughout their lives.
Focusing on a goal and carrying it out to the end, like going geocaching or teaching them to navigate to a certain point on the trail, can help with life lessons like goal setting and persistence. When you’re out on the trail as well, it is important to constantly be involved with where you are going and how you are getting there.
Environmental stewardship, handiness, adaptability, science…the list goes on. Nature is an unparalleled teacher. Getting your kids outside and asking questions about plants, animals, and pretty much everything else, can prove not only a learning experience to them, but to you as well. You learn more about your kids and your environment, and you’ll be surprised at the things they see and wonder about.
Live in the moment
I think that the technology age should also be considered “the distraction age.” Boredom is a huge issue that many kids find themselves in, constantly needing more stimulation from…pretty much anything. Teaching your kids to appreciate the world and the simple joys of life, like going on a hike, or swimming in a pond, can be great for them. It is a break from their stressful over stimulated day-to-day.
Getting outside can really bring certain points home. Is their favorite movie about a certain animal or insect? Well how cool would it be to actually see that animal in real life and make that connection? Kids nowadays see billions of images of things that they never get to experience in real life. Getting them outdoors will also make them appreciate why they recycle, how to respect the environment, and what it’s like to actually be…in real life.
Get them away from technology
You probably already know that technology is a blessing as well as a curse. There are dangers outdoors, but endless dangers in technology as well. Your kids will probably always have the opportunity to go online and learn all kinds of weird stuff, but how much opportunity will they have to be with you, outdoors?
The outdoors does weird things to people, it is kind of a mystical magical thing—it just brings them closer together. Sometimes even the least likely of friends end up being buddies for life because of the bonds that have been forged in the outdoors. The same goes for your family, the family that plays together stays together.