Unstructured outdoor play is an essential part of childhood but is sadly becoming less commonplace. Outdoor play offers many benefits such as cognitive and social development, physical health, creativity and environmental awareness – just to name a few.
With the rise of technology and mobile devices it’s more important than ever to carve out time for our kids to enjoy nature and outside play. It helps to keep kids balanced, get some exercise, interact with nature and other children and also helps to strengthen bonds with you as a parent too.
Nature Play Activity Providers
There’s a range of providers who now offer nature play in a more structured, organised environment and in a dedicated space. This ranges from nature playgroups to music and messy play activities.
Check out the Nature Play Australia page for activities and providers in your state.
DIY Nature Play
Of course, you don’t need to enrol your child in a special program to reap the benefits of nature play. All you need to do is head outside and let your child’s imagination run wild. If you need a little help encouraging your child to enjoy nature, try these fun ideas:
- Create a nature scavenger hunt and see who finds all the items first
- Collect native and wildflowers to take home and press
- Explore a new park or playground you’ve never been to before
- Take bikes, scooters and skateboards when you go out to help you get around faster while enjoying nature
- Heard of Geocaching? It’s like a treasure hunt using your phone and GPS to locate small boxes that sometimes contains trinkets. It’s a great family-friendly activity that you can do just about anywhere
- Collect twigs, leave, flowers and petals to make an artwork
There are so many ways you can encourage your child to get outside and enjoy the wonders of nature. Whether it’s in an organised activity or DIY, make sure you set aside some regular time each week to get outdoors and play together as a family.