MAY / JUNE 2019
Five Ways That Nature Enriches Your Child's Life
Take a step back and look at your child's weekly schedule. Is there time for them to watch ants build an anthill or lay in the grass to watch the clouds? 
Research suggests that the lack of nature in children's lives is directly linked to the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Connecting with nature is calming and gives us a chance to let our minds wander and process. 
Here are five reasons to leave schedules and screens behind and explore our great big natural world. 
Take Five_1
Nature is Unpredictable  
Our floors indoors are even, but the ground outside is not. When walking outdoors, children learn how to use their body to adjust for uneven surfaces. There are also leaves, snow, and rain that fall from the sky and an unexpected grasshopper that can spark wonder.
Take Five_2
Nature Has Variety 
Nature is filled with different shapes, sizes, colors, textures, smells and tastes. In a world where our day-to-day lives are so planned, it's nice to be reminded that nature is ever changing and interesting with new discoveries around every corner .
Take Five_3
Nature is Stunning 
A rainbow in the sky, a reflection in a puddle, dandelions, and apple blossoms are things of beauty that we overlook when we are always hurrying. Taking time to study the structure of a leaf or the rough bark of a tree help us reconnect with the beauty of nature.
Take Five_4
Nature is Alive with Sound 
Sit together with your child, close your eyes, and just listen. Do you hear the leaves moving in the wind, birds singing, rain falling, or crickets chirping? Stillness helps children learn to focus and makes them more aware of their surroundings.
Take Five_5
Nature is Everywhere
Nature experiences are as close as the park, your yard, the sky, even in the cracks of the sidewalk. Encourage your child to look for evidence that a bird, bug or animal has been in the area. Look up to spot a nest and down to spot animal tracks or an ant hill in the dirt.

Q. My mother was reminiscing about how when she was a child her mother had to "make" them come inside because they loved being outside. Now I feel like it's just the opposite with my children. I want to make some changes, but I need some inspiration.
 
A. Congratulations on recognizing the need for change!  Those changes start with your own perception and attitude about the outdoors. Understanding the value that nature brings to our lives will move it higher up your priority list. We all need time to mess around, literally, without direction of any kind and with stuff of our choosing. If your child is used to being indoors, spend some time showing them how to unplug and discover the unpredictable, diverse, and beautiful outdoor world around them.  You will likely find pleasure in the experience as well.

Do you have a question or a topic you'd like us to explore? 
Contact Parent Services at  PSstaff@ndchildcare.org  or call 800-997-8515

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