Getting Outside with Kids

It's February, and you know what that means! The days are getting longer and the sun is finally waking up from it's long winter sleep. Here in Vancouver, it's been sunny for three days in a row, which is nothing short of a miracle!

Lots of science supports the claim that getting outside and spending time in nature is essential for healthy childhood development. So it's time for you and your kids to close those computers, turn off those smartphones, and step out for some fantastic learning in the great outdoors! Here are some ideas for winter activities for the whole family:

1. Go on a Photo Walk!

Grab your cameras and head into the wilderness for some beautiful nature photography! Try to find beauty in things you pass by everyday, or explore somewhere new. Challenge your child to play with close-up and far-away shots, take pictures of moving and stationary things, and learn the different functions of the camera! Make a collage or slideshow with the pictures afterwards, or post them online for your friends to see!Image result for kids with camera


2. Start a Leaf or Flower Pressing Collection!

Find fallen leaves or pretty flowers and press them in a heavy book for a few days. Open it up to find a beautiful collection of natural artwork which you can use to make a natural collage. They look amazing in a picture frame!

Image result for leaf pressing

3. Do a Walking Meditation!

Meditation is a great exercise for children to help build focus and mindfulness about the world around them. Simply close your eyes and walk very, very slowly, asking your child about what they hear, feel, smell, etc. Tell them to imagine how this place was formed. Did people build it? Did it grow on it's own? Who lives here? Who used to live here? These questions will help you both think about the cycle of life and transformation and develop a deeper appreciation for the world around you!


4. Go Birdwatching!

No matter where you live, the city or the countryside, birds live everywhere! Find some binoculars and a journal and head out to spot some birds! For extra guidance and help identifying bird species, click here.


5. Get out and Get Dirty!

Being in the soil and mud is incredibly good for your child's immune development, though it may make your floors a bit messy. Gear up with a jacket and boots on a rainy day and go jump in puddles, or play in the sand. Do it with your kids! We could all use a little connection to our inner monster once in a while!