Parenting

Nature is Closer than you Think

This post first appeared on Nature Valley

Looking back at my childhood, the bulk of my memories were those spent outdoors. They are of moments spent riding bikes, exploring in the woods, building forts, running through the sprinkler, skating on the local pond, and even building igloos (or trying to anyway). Flash forward to the now, and I have three amazing daughters, and oftentimes I wonder what their biggest memories will someday entail.

Living in the technology era that we do, there’s a common parental worry that time spent outdoors is way too infrequent. There really is countless reasons for this, yet it’s no surprise that today’s children spend less time outdoors than their parents did. Key barriers include:

  • Canadian Weather – 43 per cent of Canadians claim they don’t get outside because it is too cold and 24 per cent tend to avoid nature because they don’t like insects/bugs
  • Too tired – A feeling that getting out in nature requires packing up the car and driving somewhere far away. 27 per cent of Canadians deprioritize exploring nature is because they are just too tired
  • Societal pressure – According to Nature Valley research, parents feel tremendous societal pressure on organized, structured activities for their kids, instead of letting them play freely in nature. For many parents, letting kids play freely outside somehow doesn’t “measure up.” As a result, scheduled activities tend to fill up kids’ free time – in addition to dinner time, homework time and bed time.
  • Technology – 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.

This fact comes from a Nature Valley survey conducted with Vision Critical on nature moments, and the comparison of time spent outdoors through the years. This survey also found that even our adult generation spent less time outdoors than our own parents as well – so it seems that through the decades, this number keeps on decreasing. Right now it’s estimated that today’s children spend three times more screen-time than outdoor-time. Knowing this, it’s alarming to think of the lifestyles of generations to come.

We must change this now, and reverse the pattern – and Nature Valley is leading the way with their #NatureMoments campaign, to inspire Canadians to rediscover the joy of nature. Taking in nature not only helps to calm, energize and uplift our spirits, but it gives us valuable exercise and activity time. Thing is, it’s not just about going deep into the woods on a dedicated and lengthy hike –  it’s everywhere around us and we can enjoy it by simply being outside doing even the simplest of things.

With the change in seasons and an immense feeling and need to get out of the house and away from the screens, for the last few weeks I have put a very strong focus on getting outdoors daily with my daughters. One of the activities that we’ve been enjoying tremendously (at least 3 times per week so far!), is walking our local dog parks with our furry family member, Charlie.

Nature is Closer than you Think

At first we chose a few different parks each time we went, yet I then discovered the Park Finder tool at NatureValley.ca. According to survey findings, 83% of Canadians have a park close to their home and one in five live within 250 metres of a park – yet, we’re not necessarily taking advantage of our proximity to nature, despite our desire to get outside more often.

I find the Park Finder tool to be a fantastic resource to not only find new parks in your area, but it also encourages and reminds us that enjoying nature can be simple and close to home. This tool helps break the mundane, without say, a huge timely trip involved. We personally use this tool often, and the simple act of the girls taking turns in picking a park gets them so excited to get outside for some nature moments.

Nature is Closer than you Think

I very much look forward to our walks together, it’s so nice to stretch the legs and breathe in the fresh air. Yet I also cherish the memories we all are making as the kids and dog run the paths, stop to look at fallen trees, and throw rocks in the river. We talk, explore, and laugh each and every time; and it’s so worth making it a priority in life. I know priceless memories are being made along with so many other benefits {including some dog training}, and that is so important.

‘Find a new park’, like we are doing, is just one of the great ideas found on the 100 Days of Summer checklist courtesy of Nature Valley. These 100 easy and fun nature moment ideas demonstrate that nature is closer than we think, and offers simple and attainable ideas to make those outdoor-time memories. We’ve printed off this list and challenged ourselves to cross off as many as we can during the summer of 2017, in order to make it a great outdoors one to remember. Why not do the same with your family?

It’s time to find and embrace #NatureMoments – what do you enjoy doing outdoors?

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, yet as always all opinions are my own.

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15 Comments

  1. I love walking and checking out all the plants and seeing how they change over the year.

  2. I walk to work even in the winter months but sometimes I catch a ride home when the winds really bad and its -35C (I live in SK where this is a reality ) I have been walking to work for years and sometimes its the only outdoor exercise I get. During the nicer months, thats when we are super busy at work (And we’re low staffed as no ones applied for our job openings) so we all tend to do OT every day, and our plant opens at 4am and I close down the plant somtimes as late as 11pm at night. (and then I might catch a ride home as well if its rainy etc)

  3. I love getting outdoors in the summer, and one of the ways I do this is by running outdoors!

  4. Oh gosh I love that! I’ve never heard of the Park Finder tool before!

    (I’m one of those that hates mosquitoes and other biting insects! but I still spend time outside)

  5. We have some wonderful trails to explore in Oakville, my grandkids moan and say it will be boring when I say I am going to take them on a walk but once we are out they have a great time!

  6. This country is full of the most beautiful nature and often not that far away. There are lots of parks too where kids can go and play and let off some steam. Things are a lot different to when I was a child and even when my own children were young. Playing outside with your friends was the norm back then, that is no longer the case these days unfortunately.

  7. We enjoy geocaching, and the grandsons love going with us too. We often go down woodland trails hunting for treasure. We only do it during the nice weather months though. I’m not fond of winter and walking the ten blocks to the post office and back is more than enough outside time for me when it’s cold and damp.

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