As a parent, you’re the one your kids look up to most. Where you go, they follow. So when you go outside and introduce them to nature, you’re not just finding something to occupy them, you’re setting them up for a lifelong love of the outdoors. You don’t need to go somewhere far off or expensive either. Right outside your door will do.
That’s because a sense of “awe” can be found just about anywhere. From vast, open landscapes at your local park to the tiniest, intricately colored flower in your neighbor’s garden, all you have to do is look. And the benefits can be amazing. In fact, a UC Berkeley study found that regularly experiencing awe can improve both physical and mental health, perhaps even lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, clinical depression, heart disease and arthritis. Not to mention, it can feel spectacular.
It takes no time at all
All you need is 15 minutes. Simply turn off your phones and go outside. As you walk, take time to notice—really notice—the sights, sounds, smells, and other sensations. Point them out and encourage your kids to do the same. Find awe as you play in the dirt, climb up a tree or race through a field. Exactly what you do is up to you. But share these kinds of outdoor experiences with your kids enough and we promise the results will be pretty awesome themselves.
It’s hard to keep your kids entertained. With our list of 100 Things to Do Before You’re 12, you and your kids can have fun crossing off outdoor activities all year round — from your backyard to the backcountry.