When my kids are in a bad mood, or just acting particularly crazy, I shoo them out into the backyard. When they spend time outdoors and in nature, it helps reset their mood. Plus, spending time in nature can also lead to happiness as adults.
Just in case you needed extra evidence, other than personal experience, there was actually a massive study that proved this. (You can read the full study here).
Related: 25 Super Active Outdoor Activities for Kids
Does Spending Time Outside REALLY Make Use Happier?
The study followed almost one million people over three decades. Their findings? Kids who grew up with little green space were at higher risk of having mental health issues or disorders.
Kids who had green space, on the other hand, experienced less stress, felt calmer, and better sleep patterns. This was especially true when kids were exposed more to nature. In other words, not just the occasional jaunt outside.
What About Green Space…Is That Enough for Kids?
Green space is more than just forest and wilderness areas. In cities, it can be your local park. Urban green spaces count too. If there’s a garden or trees, that works too.
Spend Time Outdoors and Encourage a Love of Nature
The number one way to encourage a love of nature is…. to spend time outdoors. But what if you have a nature-shy kid, like my oldest?
When she was younger, I bribed her with outdoor activities, like bubbles and a water table. Now, playing games are usually a huge hit; we’re a huge fan of family soccer time, for example.
But even the promise of a game of tag will get her out the door.
Once outside, give them a chance to explore.
You don’t have to have a list of things for them to do it. In fact, boredom outside can lead kids to going on their own investigations.
Maybe they’ll turn over an old log and discover a world of bugs. Or perhaps, like my toddler son, he’ll be fascinated by bark and mud.
Easy Activities that can inspire a love of nature in Kids
- Create a garden. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them about what plants need to grow. Check out our gardening with kids tips.
- Scavenger hunts. Create a list of nature-items to find and send them out to gather everything from twigs to bark.
- Have a picnic – here are oh so many picnic ideas!
- Go for a walk or hike.
- Plan to go out every day, no matter what the weather. After all, kids love puddles.
More Fun Things to Do Outside from Kids Activities Blog
- Let’s play some sidewalk chalk games.
- We have over 50 summer camp activities that you can do in your backyard.
- Make some shadow art on your sidewalk.
- Build a stick fort!
- Here are a bunch of ideas to take art outdoors with outdoor art projects.
- Have you considered a springfree trampoline?
- Make a backyard balloon rocket…super fun science you can easily do outside.
- Make these DIY wind chimes to hang outside.
- Have you seen this giant backyard seesaw?
- Let’s play some outdoor family games!
- Kids playing outside is a good thing says studies.
- Toddler tantrums are stressful! But experts say toddlers who throw tantrums are more likely to be successful later in life!
The biggest thing for encouraging a love of nature?
Making it a daily habit to spend time outdoors.
So, go forth and play outside…