7 Ways to Make your Child Brighter, Happier and Full of Life

Saying NO to screens and yes to the outdoors

There is something intuitive about kids and the outdoors.

Have you watched a baby explore the leaves on the trees. I know my babies were the most content in a stroller parked under a tree than in the house. The breezes, the movement of the clouds and the birds. They loved to play on a blanket and just watch.

Photo by Deanne Michelle Welsh

1) Plant a garden.

It doesn’t have to be big. Start indoors with seeds and watch the seedlings grow. Then transplant in the spring. Let your kids do it. Don’t worry about perfection. Think about experience. Let them get dirty. Mud play is messy but fun. By looking after the plants the children learn responsibility. Taking care of something by remembering to water it. Charting the growth of your plants helps them see time and life.

Curiosity. Being careful. Nature.

2) Go for a walk in the woods.

Examine everything. Take some things home (unless the park tells you not to). Be ready to make a picture with the found materials. Be ready for your children to either write or dictate a story to you about their adventure. Read adventure stories. This builds creativity and imagination. It expands their artistic side — the right brain.

3) Play outdoor games.

All ball games are terrific for playing as a family. Ladder Golf. Mazes. Basketball. Road hockey. Baseball. Exercise is important for building strong bodies. And helps curb restlessness. If my grandson is getting restless I send him outside to run around the house.

Make up your own game! Just play.

4) Take bike rides together and as a family.

Make an outdoor map and have one of the kids be the leader. Or ride around and come back and make a map from memory. See, explore, build strong muscles.

Just learning to ride his bike.

5) Visit the park and playground equipment.

I am sure there is a park nearby your home. Take your children (we can’t send them any more) to the park. See what games they come up with on the climbers and slides. Don’t stifle their desire to try new skills. This builds confidence that translates into other areas of life.

Build muscles, skills and confidence.

6) Explore a new natural setting.

Go somewhere different. Check out the plant life. As children see the world as God created it they will ask questions about why it is this like this? Who created this? They will become more attune to how the earth can be harmed and will be better at caring for our world.

7) Visit a farm.

Plan to visit a farm or apple orchard. Pick your own berries. Talk to the farmer about how the fruit/vegetables get to this stage of harvesting. Great lessons on preparing, planning, working hard and harvest. Let your children pet the animals. And take an opportunity to hug a chicken! Encourage them to ask questions.

Isn’t this the best education there is?
Hug a chicken.

8) Be an Outdoor Artist.

If you have a fence use a board up against it and let your children paint with large brushes and bright colours. Take rubbings of trees — see the differences of barks. Paint a rock or shell. Collect things to take home and examine.

Resources to stimulate your thinking out of the screen.

Last Child in the Woods
How to Raise a Wild Child
Balanced and Barefoot

How the Outdoors Can Help Nurture Your Child.

1)Grows responsibility
2) Expands creativity and imagination
3) Builds strong muscles, and co-operation in play
4) Helps in visualizing the world from a bird’s eye viewpoint
5) Builds confidence
6) Shows children that God is our Creator
7) Teaches the cycles of growth
8) Allows pure fun — for the pleasure of expression

Creativity Spiritual Catalyst. Author/Illustrator. Christ Follower. FB group for artists and writers. Free Bible Art Course. https://www.janiscox.com

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