22 Mar, 2018

5 ways to engage your child in nature play


Nature is more than just a faraway national park. So much can be discovered be getting outside and into your local bushland, park or forest.

Here are five tips to help get you and your little ones outside, to have fun and witness the wonders of nature together.

Tip 1: Inspire curiosityBe curious and open to learning new things with your child. It’s okay if you don’t know what type of flower that is, how bees collect pollen or why that leaf is green. Responding with “I don’t know, let’s find out together,” is a great place to start.

You can always follow through with some research at home when you return if you have unanswered questions from your expeditions. A parent’s excitement is contagious!

Tip 2: Simply be in natureSimply being in nature, without questioning can let learning happen naturally too. Going out and observing without distractions allows nature to put on an uninterrupted show.

Thinking back to your childhood, what were the things you were enthralled by, simply by being in the right place at the right time? Watching a spider spin a web, finding grubs doing their thing on the ground, appreciating the colours of a butterfly. Let your child lead the way and take some quiet time in nature to observe.

Tip 3: Visit an area regularlyReturning to the same spot throughout the year will allow your child to witness the magical differences in nature with each changing season.

Tip 4: Don’t forget about the nightWonderful creatures venture out at night but many of us are indoors, oblivious to the nocturnal creatures that are waking up and moving about.

Go for a spotlight adventure or simply stare at the moon and stars. It’s a wonderful way to have a deeper conversation about our place in the world.

Tip 5: Get involvedIf you have an older child, offer them opportunities to become an active participant in protecting nature.

If you’re in the Redlands area, considering joining a Bushcare groupas a family or lending a hand during community clean up days. If your child is aged 8-12 years and has in interest in our local environment, register them with the monthly IndigiKids Club at IndigiScapes.

For Sunshine Coast families, check out the Community Nature Conservation Program, the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Garden, or the Friends of Mary Cairncross Association.

Adapted from an article in the IndigiScapes newsletter, with permission.

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