The shift away from outdoor play towards screen time can have detrimental impacts on child development, a problem that’s been dubbed ‘nature deficit disorder.’

Outdoor activities foster executive function, creativity, stress reduction, and overall happiness in children, benefiting parents as well.

Outdoor play also enhances physical health, promoting exercise and motor skills development.

Gardening is inherently a sensory-rich activity, but those aren’t the only benefits. Exposure to sunshine ensures adequate Vitamin D for immune function and mood improvement.

Life skills such as independence, confidence, social interaction, and risk assessment are also honed outside, proven by several studies.

Moreover, outdoor experiences foster environmental respect and appreciation, crucial for our planet’s future.

But as parents know, getting kids outdoors is not always easy. The rise of technology has made indoor play far more enticing than it used to be.

If you’re struggling to get your kids to enjoy the great outdoors, there are a few things you can try:

Lead by example

Show your children how much you enjoy being outside. This will encourage younger children to enjoy it too and associates the outdoors with family time.

Incorporate nature in arts and crafts

Use natural objects like pressed flowers, pinecones, and crushed fruits for crafts, combining indoor interests with outdoor exploration.

Start a family vegetable garden

Kid-friendly plants like lettuce, cherry tomatoes, or nasturtiums are wonderful beginner-friendly plants that grow rapidly for quick harvest and strong returns.

Go hiking

It’s an excellent family activity, providing a sense of accomplishment. Plus, there are so many beautiful hiking spots to enjoy around South Africa.

Camp in your garden

This outdoor family activity doesn’t require much planning or spending if you already have camping equipment on hand.

Featured image: Filip Urban via Unsplash