It seems that most children are born with a love for the outdoors. And that love is understandable, considering the sights, sounds, and spirit-lifting qualities of nature. As parents, there are steps you can take to encourage your children to cherish the outdoors and the opportunities it brings. Here are five ways to foster a love of nature in your child.
Make Time Outside a Priority
It may seem obvious, but getting outdoors regularly is an essential part of sharing your love for nature. Even if you are gone throughout weekdays, there are ways to spend time outside. Try having a picnic for dinner or taking a walk before bedtime. Alternatively, plan regular outings on the weekends. Family walks, hikes, and outdoor games will bring your family closer together while encouraging your child’s love for the outdoors.
Read Books About Outdoor Adventures
Another great way to foster your child’s love of nature is by exploring it in stories. Look for children’s books that talk about the seasons, animals, and other natural wonders. Also, find stories about children having adventures outdoors. Your child will feel connected to the characters and want to have adventures of their own. When possible, connect your own time outside to the stories you have read. Point out plants, animals, and environments that are familiar from favorite books. The more familiar your child feels with nature, the more likely he will continue to love being in it.
Don’t Let the Weather Get You Down
It can be difficult to spend time outdoors when the weather doesn’t cooperate. However, with some basic preparation, the weather won’t keep you from exploring together. Brave the rain with boots and raincoats. In fact, jumping in puddles makes great memories. Cold weather is a little more difficult, but layering warm clothes and using gloves and hats keeps you warm enough to enjoy those chilly days. Since poor weather may limit the time you can spend outside, try to collect some interesting pieces of nature to bring indoors with you. Colorful leaves, acorns, pine cones, flowers, rocks, and other portable treasures are wonderful to slip into pockets to be studied later in the comfort of home.
Teach Your Child About Nature
Small children often have a lot of questions. The “whys” and “hows” seem never-ending. Parents can encourage a child’s curiosity and love for the outdoors by answering those questions whenever possible. Of course, you won’t know all the answers automatically. But helping your child find the answers in books at the library or by searching online will teach them to do the same as they grow.
Look for Opportunities to Share a Love for the Outdoors with Others
While spending time outdoors as a family is valuable, there are many opportunities to enjoy nature in a community as well. Being with other families and peers who appreciate the outdoors fosters your child’s enthusiasm. Depending on your location and availability, there are varying degrees of commitment and regularity. If you can’t find time for a scout troop, nature club, or family hiking group, try inviting some family friends for a hike or picnic every month or so. The more your child views time in nature as a regular part of life and community, the more likely she is to continue pursuing it.
Fostering a love for the outdoors is a lifelong gift you give your children. Regardless of the life they choose, nature will offer opportunities to learn, discover, and explore. If you are looking for childcare that emphasizes the benefits of time spent outdoors, consider Legacy Academy. Call or visit to learn more.