A Year of Nature Craft and Play  is written by gardening expert Catherine Hughes and child therapist Becky Goddard-Hill. In this beautiful new book published by Harper Collins, they share a host of nature craft and play ideas that follow the seasons with the express purpose of getting families outside into the fresh air and moving. 

Why we should all get outside more

Depression and anxiety in kids and teens has been linked to excessive screen time and a feeling of disconnectedness from other humans (source)

Getting kids off those sedentary screens and outside with their families will bring a certain boost in terms of feelings of wellbeing and is well worth encouraging.

But not many kids get excited if you merely suggest going for a walk, do they? This is where Nature Craft and Play comes into use as a jam-packed activity resource full of fun things to do outside and in nature not just in the Spring or Summer but all year round.

Benefits of spending more time in nature

It is very tempting to spend the colder months huddled and snuggled indoors but daylight is ever important, and we need to get our kids out! 

Take a look at just some of the benefits research explored by Sandford health identified that benefit our children (and ourselves) to our kids when we encourage this:

  • Outdoor light stimulates the pineal gland. This part of the brain is vital to keeping our immune system strong and making us feel happier. 
  • Spending time in nature is also associated with improving mood and happiness. 
  • Children who identify with nature are more likely to become adults who appreciate nature and want to protect the environment.

How to get outside as a family

So how do we get our kids to WANT to come outside with us and be in nature?

It is actually much easier than you think and nature craft and Play make it even easier with their many fun suggestions. Here are 6 quick fun and simple activities you might want to suggest to your kids

A game of pooh sticks. Heading to the river and each dropping a stick over a bridge and seeing which one appears on the other side. 

Making a mandala on the forest floor out of nature finds. You simply need a centre and the to build out a circular pattern form the at centre.

You could devise a nature treasure scavenger hunt for your child.

How about animal tracks spotting walk?

Maybe you could create a huge leaf pile and take running jumps at it which you record in slow motion on your phone. These look amazing and are great fun.  

Perhaps you could head out with blankets and hot cholate to a nearby hill climb to the top then lie back and do a little cloud sporting making up stories about the images you see in the sky?

Perhaps you could go foraging for blackberries and come back and make a yummy pie

Or maybe you could collect leaves of every colour and craft a rainbow when you get home?

How about geocaching. Kids love treasure hunting and this is a way of getting them to walk miles without even realising it! 

A walk somewhere to scatter wildflower seed bombs you have made always feels amazing.

Take a look at A Year of Nature Craft and Play for lots more inspired ideas to keep your family fit healthy and happy.

If you found this helpful please share!

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