Last week my son asked me what I watched on YouTube when I was his age. I actually took a moment to think about what I watched before I remembered I was a product of the 80’s and my childhood was fairly tech-free. I had a bike and I had freedom. It was enough.
This Generation Is Not Getting Outdoors
I have put in some work on making sure our kids get outside. Our backyard space is full of toys, adventure, and BUGS. The older kids have a perimeter in our neighbourhood where they are allowed to explore on their own, we ride our bikes as a family. But I know that they spend a lot of time indoors as well. When I was there age I left the house in the morning and didn’t want to come home at night. This is not happening in my house, with my kids, right now and according to a study done by Nature Valley more than half of Canadians feel they spend less time outdoors than their parents did (54 per cent) and that they don’t get enough outdoor time (53 per cent).
Benefits of Getting Outdoors
I am a work-at-home-mom and I can really get in a groove when I sit down at the computer but I really recognize the importance of unplugging and going out. I’ve made it a habit to put away my phone on the weekends and enjoy my time off outdoors
Nature Valley shares a common belief that there is amazing joy in reconnecting with Nature. Nature has no favourites, it’s a perfect place for people of all ages. It has a power like nothing else to bring us together, calm, energize, invigorate and uplift us in amazing ways. Nature is pretty amazing and it doesn’t cost a penny to enjoy.
Instilling a love of nature early in a child’s lives has many benefits including giving them an appreciation of nature that is nurtured as they grow. They become adults who find nature relaxing. Nature Valley’s survey showed that 32% of parents see running around outside as great cardiovascular exercise and a key benefit to getting the kids outside. I see the outdoors as yet another place to take my kids so that they tire themselves out and fall asleep easier at night.
Plus when my kids go outside their imaginations take them far beyond the confines of our backyard or local park. They learn to climb trees and search for bugs. They pick flowers and get dirty. They enjoy their childhood, carefree.
Facing the Barriers
Just because we know all of these amazing benefits of not only getting our kids but ourselves as well, outdoors doesn’t mean we put on our shoes and head out.
Time in nature isn’t a priority – it’s often taken for granted because it’s “always there.” Key barriers include:
- Societal Pressures – According to Nature Valley research, parents feel tremendous societal pressure to enroll their kids in organized, structured activities, instead of letting them play freely in nature. As a result, scheduled activities tend to fill up kids’ free time – in addition to dinner time, homework time and bed time.
- Canadian weather – 52 per cent of Canadians claim they are dissuaded by Canadian weather being too hot or too cold and concurrently because they do not like bugs (24 per cent). This suggests that we tend to favour the indoors because it’s more ‘comfortable’ than being outside.
- Not enough time / too tired – A feeling that getting out in nature requires packing up the car and driving somewhere far away. Canadians also deprioritize exploring nature because they are “too tired” (27 per cent).
- Technology/screens – Canadian children are spending three times more time indoors on digital devices than they do outside. They’re missing out on the numerous and significant benefits that come from spending time in nature. When asked what the largest barrier is to spending time outdoors, 35 per cent of Canadians under 18 said they’d prefer to spend their time with technology, such as social media & gaming.
How Do We Have Nature Moments?
It can be hard trying to tempt the kids outdoors when there is shelter, air conditioning and all of the tech they could possibly want at home.
Nature Valley has compiled a list of 100 #NatureMoments for 100 Days of Summer. They have fun daily prompts on their website or you can download the whole list and pick and choose what you want to do each day. According to the survey Nature Valley took 83% of Canadians have a park close to home yet as many as 40% don’t get outside every day even though 53% want to.
As parents we can simply lead by example, help nurture the love of nature our kids naturally have and make getting outdoors a priority.
Plus make sure you visit NatureValley.ca to access their list of 100 Nature Moments for 100 Days of Summer to get inspired.
We are partnering with Nature Valley to provide on of our readers a Nature Moments prize including a sandcastle set, bubbles, chalk, inflatable ball, frisbee, beach mat, a kite, jump rope as well as a selection of Nature Valley products. Open to Canada and ends August 11, 2017.