top of page
  • Writer's picture

Top 10 things to get your kids in nature and off the Ipod

Remember how it was when you were a kid? Parents could get hardly get kids to come back inside at dark. What happened? The thrill is gone, but you can get it back. Kids, and adults, thrive on adrenaline experiences. Gaming and T.V. put them right at the edge of their emotional thrill.

With the new studies that show Nature Deficit Disorder is the cause of many issues with young children, such as ADD, depression and obesity, we recognize that screen time, gaming and Ipods remove them from real life experiences and attention to what's happening around them. It causes kids to look to be entertained and sedentary, instead of thinking freely and being creative and active.

However, with a little time, persistence and patience, you can bring out the hunter, seeker, and animal instincts in the wild with your child and it's even more exciting than video games.

Here are 10 simple things to do to peak their curiosity and wild side with outdoor adventures and survival games:

  1. BE DARING - Hunt for crawling bugs or insects that don't bite - caterpillars, moths, ladybugs, worms and let the insects crawl on their hands, arms, nose and head. Get them comfortable with crawling bugs and getting dirty, while at the same time challenging them to get past their edge when they get the willies.

  2. BE CURIOUS - Bug in hand, or on head, use the art of questioning to draw them deeper into the insect's day to day world. What does this bug/insect eat? Where does it live? Where did you find it? Why does it have so many legs? The more questions they can answer, the more they will want to know and share. This helps to build confidence, and puts them in the teaching spot. Avoid having all the answers for them. But get out a nature guide book if you really want to know and look it up together, only after several guesses and radical thinking has been sparked.

  3. BE A HUNTER - Now that you've figured out where this bug lives, see if you can find more “homes” of insects, animals, birds, etc. Keep it light and observant, and caution them not to go poking around bee's nests and snake holes. Look for subtle indications of where the animals live such as deer tracks, rabbit trails, animal scat, flattened grass where animals slept.

  4. BE PREDATOR AND PREY - Have them stalk each other. The intensity of heightened awareness of being still, silent, and not getting caught, (or eaten by your predator) is enlivening and exciting for children to play with. These “life or death” role plays bring intense meaning and awareness to each moment. Choose one “predator” to blindfold and let the “prey” hide - an intensified game of hide-and-seek. Encourage them to act out animal behaviors and noises, and experience their roles of food chain. Or you can use a spray bottle for the blind folded one to spray any predators that get too close!

  5. BE WILD - Now have them secretly pick an animal or insect they have now learned a bit about, and act it out. Ask them to display the sounds, movements, actions, stalking, hunting and walking habits of their chosen character. Let the others guess and enjoy the rewards of awareness. It's important to focus on nature awareness being the reward, not a prize or points- leave that for video games.

  6. BE RAW - Eat raw. Find some wild edibles such as chicory, sassafras, and wild elderberries and let them experience what it is like to live in the wild and off the land like adventure-seeking humans. Kids will be amazed how much sassafras tastes like Fruit Loops!

  7. BE INTENSELY PRESENT - Observe the rhythm of the river or the wind around you. Have them all close their eyes and feel the wind on their skin. Guide them to notice the wind on every part of their body. Do they feel the breeze on their finger tips? Their arms and neck? Does it blow strong enough to move their hair? Now have them imitate the flow of the breeze. How does it move? How fast, how slow? Is it wavy or direct and cutting?

  8. BE STILL - Observe all the characteristics of a tree. Have them write down 3-5 things for each characteristic below How does it move? What other kinds of organisms and insects live on this tree? How would you describe it if it were a person? What do you think a tree would say? How would you describe the texture of its bark?

  9. BE SILLY -Take the tune or melody of one of their favorite or silly familiar songs and improvise a song about something in nature For example, sing this song to the tune of Sesame Street, (or whatever they relate to...) “Big 'ol tree, looking down at me, want to climb but you got poison ivy, so I better not forget, how to find the jewel weed, cause it is the remedy.” Just be silly and free with it, no song is bad, and if it is bad, it's even more comical.

  10. BE CREATIVE - Make a nature collage, word collage, or sculpture:

· Collect a bunch of leaves and make a collage · Collect sticks and make shapes on the ground, floor plans for your tree house, or build a structure with them (using the Y branches as your end pieces to hold the other twigs and branches together) · See how many rocks of different shapes and sizes you can stack into a well balanced sculpture (this teaches great patience and awareness in an attempt to achieve balance within and without), start with river pebbles and rocks first.· Take the details of your “tree observation” (or whatever they observed) and turn it into a poem.

· Use the list of characteristics, and observations and put them together like pieces of a puzzle. They can even take each word and cut them up into little words of pieces of paper (like fridge poetry) and collage the found words and observations together into word art.

Learn more at

7 views0 comments


bottom of page