As a parent, you know that getting your toddler outside is important for their physical and mental health. As well as their development.
But it can be tough to get them interested in nature and the outdoors unless they “came out that way”. Here are four tips to encourage your toddler to love the outdoors and help turn your toddler into a little nature-lover or tree-hugger.
Benefits of spending time with your toddler in nature
Spending time in nature can be great for both you and your toddler.
For one thing, it gets you both out of the house and into the fresh air! Huge, to be honest. Just being outside can help improve your mood and energy levels.
Being in nature has been shown to reduce stress, improve moods, boost immunity, and even boost executive function skills like multitasking and problem-solving. These are all great benefits for toddlers who want to be constantly on the go and exploring their world.
And when you’re exploring together, your toddler is sure to find lots of new things to see and do. This can help stimulate their imagination and sense of wonder and builds new experiences that your child can draw upon during pretend play, back at home.
It’s also a great opportunity for some active play, as your toddler runs, climbs, and jumps their way around. Plus, spending time in nature is a great way to bond with your little one.
As they learn about the world around them, they’ll also be learning about you and what’s important to you. One of the best things you can do for your toddler is to spend time with them in nature.
How to get your toddler interested in nature
One of the best things about having a toddler is watching them explore the world around them for the first time. Everything is new and exciting, and they’re constantly learning about the world around them.
Nature can be a great way to help your toddler learn more about the world, and there are plenty of easy ways to encourage your toddler to love the outdoors.
- One simple way is to take them for walks in the park and point out different trees, birds, and flowers. Let them explore different textures, sounds, and smells.
- Introduce them to gardening by letting them help you plant some flowers or vegetables. This is what got my 3-year-old into going outside.
- If you have a pet, that’s another great way to get your toddler interested in nature – playing fetch with a dog outdoors can be great fun for toddlers (and pets!).
- Read books about animals and plants together. Look for books with bright pictures and simple text that will hold their attention.
- Watch videos or kid-friendly documentaries about nature, animals, plants, traveling, or history and talk about the nature you see in those videos.
- Let them paint or color nature-inspired coloring pages and talk about what they’re coloring. Color or paint with them. Do nature-inspired toddler crafts together.
- Dig in the dirt with them. Maybe you have a sandbox, maybe you don’t. Just get a shovel for you and one for your toddler and go outside and dig in the dirt with them! Talk about the worms you find or the shapes you can make with the dirt.
However you choose to do it, introducing your toddler to nature is a great way to help them learn more about the world around them.
Words of encouragement if you’re not an outdoorsy person but you want your kid to be one
Don’t forget that there are countless ways to enjoy the outdoors. It doesn’t have to mean hiking or camping – simply spending time in your backyard or taking a walk around the block can be beneficial.
Take things one step at a time. If the thought of spending an entire day outside sounds overwhelming, start with smaller goals.
It’s great that you want your kid to experience the joys of nature! Even if you’re not an outdoorsy person yourself, there are plenty of ways to get your child interested in the great outdoors.
As your child becomes more comfortable, you can plan hikes or camping trips to nearby parks or think about field trips to local nature reserves or state parks.
The key when trying to encourage your toddler to love the outdoors is to take things at your child’s pace and let them lead the way.
Remember that everyone has different interests and preferences. Just because you don’t like spending time outside doesn’t mean your child won’t. With a little encouragement, you’ll be surprised at how quickly they develop a love for the outdoors.