Here’s how to nurture
your nature connection...
1. Set your family Nature values together
Sit down as a family and decide what is important for you when it comes to nature and our planet. It may surprise you what your kids already know about the environment and climate change. They may already have firm views and strong feelings on this topic. In essence, become more mindful as a family about your impact on Nature and our planet. I believe that this in itself will create an empathy in all of us which will guide us towards having a positive impact on our planet.
2. Make Nature Traditions
Make traditions, rituals and habits for your family which act as anchors in all of your busy lives. As your children grow up, they will come to associate certain times of year with family traditions if you take the time to set these roots when they are young.
Traditions like your Sunday afternoon walk in Nature, an Autumn conkers tournament, a Christmas wreath making evening or holly finding forage in the woods. Others ideas are an annual camping trip, fishing trips, family hikes, outdoor barbeques or summer picnics, summer swimming or paddling, beach days, star gazing on clear nights, gardening days or foraging days when you make your own cordial, tarts, jam or baking from the finds. Pick one or two traditions that will suit your family, and get you all outdoors together, and go from there. Check out the Teenagers & Young People page for activity ideas for older members of the family.
3. Let the Activity Finder do the work for you
Use the Activity Finder to keep your kids interested and inspired with fun, nature based activities.
4. Forest Schools & Nature camps
If you don't have the skills, or confidence, to challenge older kids when outdoors to the extent that they want - that’s absolutely fine! Use the professionals to do it for you. We can all get to a point that it is beyond our skills to keep them as active and challenged in Nature as they want to be. Once a year, or more regularly if you can afford it, you could link your children up with professional camps that provide services which get them out into nature, camping in the wild, learning new skills and testing themselves. Always use reputable, garda vetted and reliable services with whom you can trust your children. Irish Forest School Association – IFSA supports the development of Forest School in Ireland
5. Make your back garden, patio or balcony child friendly
If we want our kids to spend time outdoors, they must have something to do that is age appropriate and challenging. As they get older for example, your 8 year old might not just hop on the swing like they used to. So we must try to adapt our outdoor spaces to reflect the age and interests of our children, if we can, with activities to attract them and keep their interest while outdoors. See great tips for making your back garden more child friendly here How to Set Up a Kid Friendly Backyard for Active Play (artfulparent.com).
Older children might appreciate an outdoor woodwork station, gardening plot or creativity corner. Sit down with them and chat about what they would like for their interests in your garden space.