The Power Nature Can Have On Our Kids

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Do you feel like you’re constantly having to *entertain* your kids to keep them engaged in activities?

As a parent, do you find your kids regularly asking to watch something on a screen to help satisfy their so-called *boredom*?

You’re not the only one – trying to balance screen time and play time, alongside your own work and everyday chores can be a lot. Through a recent family trip into the Alaskan wilderness, our responsibility consultant, Kestrel, discovered several ways that being immersed in nature can be powerful for our kids (and us).

Being outside is powerful for our kids

Boredom Seemed To Disappear For Days When fully immersed in an outdoor environment, boredom seemed to disappear for our 3-year old. There were so many new things to see and spaces to explore, which kept her excited and engaged in the world around her. 

The Need For A Screen Vanished I did a bit of an experiment – I didn’t say anything about a *screen* or the iPad that was in our backpack, to see how many days it would take for our child to ask for it. On Day 5 of being in the wild (and on the 3rd rainy day in a row), she asked if she could watch something. I was proud – it was amazing to see how being outside consistently can allow kids to find ways to entertain themselves.

Offered An Intimate Connection To Where Our Food Comes From In today’s world of convenience, we are often disconnected from an understanding of where our food comes from. This experience allowed our child to intimately understand where some of our food comes from. On a hike, we would pick blueberries and eat them on-the-go. After catching salmon, we all watched my brother filet it, and then were able to enjoy cooking and eating it for dinner the same night.

Opened Up A Sense Of Freedom & Encouraged Exploration Being amidst wide open natural spaces provides a sense of freedom, for kids and parents alike. You’re not constantly making sure the kids stay on the sidewalk or don’t go in the street – there is space for them to truly explore, and for you to take a little mental break. The unstructured nature of being in these spaces can breed creativity and curiosity, encouraging self play in kids.

Stimulated Lessons About The Plants & Animals Around Us
Sometimes the fast-paced nature of life today can hinder us from interacting with the plants and animals around us. Whether you’re in a city or a wild space, there are habitats around us.For our child, so much learning arose from seeing the various plants and animals on our trip – from seals to bears to sea otters to starfish to blueberries and salmon-berries, it was an educational experience each time we walked outside our tent.

Provided A Reminder Of How We Are A Small Piece Of A Big, Beautiful World Sometimes, especially for kids, it can be challenging to understand that we are a small part of a massive world. Being outside in wide open spaces really helps us all better visualize the reality that we are a tiny speck amidst a plethora of intricate ecosystems. Stepping into these big wild spaces can be a beautiful reminder to encourage us all to think more about our tiny roles in this big world, and how we are all connected.

While you may not have the opportunity to travel to Alaska and stay in a cabin or tent hours from a town, the bottom line is – being outside is powerful for our kids. The more we give them the chance to get comfortable in outdoor, natural spaces, the more their creativity will run wild and their minds will get engaged in understanding the world around us. Not to mention, being outside in nature helps all of us – kids or adults – relax and recharge.

Written by: City Threads Cofounders Shayna Samuels & Joe Willis, and Kestrel Jenkins, responsibility consultant & host of the Conscious Chatter podcast.