How To Get Children Outdoors

There are lots of ways to encourage children to enjoy the outdoors. Learn how!

With all the computer and video games around, it may be difficult to get children to want to play outdoors these days. There are lots of ways to encourage children to enjoy the beauty of nature and actually want to go outside on a hike. Small children will find a collecting activity to be fun and exciting, while learning about the wonders of the outside world.

As soon as children are able to walk, they can go along on small hikes. Allow them to touch pinecones and needles, leaves-especially dried ones that they can crunch in their hands, rocks and the bark of trees. Since children are very tactile and have a desire to touch everything, this will be a fun activity. Older children can be given a bag to collect things they find along the way. However, be mindful never to pick wildflowers or disturb the habitats of animals. Collections can include pinecones, small rocks and pebbles, different leaves and seedpods that have fallen to the ground. You can also make up a game to see who can find the most objects listed on a piece of paper, sort of like a scavenger hunt or bingo-type game.

Promoting a child to the illustrious position of trail leader will allow them to be in charge of which direction or trail to take. If there is more than one child, alternate trail leaders. To encourage children who might feel tired or even bored toward the end of a hike, keep a favorite snack available to eat on the way, or keep it in the car as a treat for when they complete the hike. This gives the children something to look forward to and is a nice reward for finishing the hike.

Most children will enjoy being outdoors once they have experienced the beauty, diversity and excitement of nature, but it might take a little prodding to get them going at first!

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