For the Grown-Ups
Come On Everybody, Let's Get Outside!

Come On Everybody, Let's Get Outside!

As you may know by now, I'm a big, big, big proponent of spending time in nature. From the Japanese practice of “(forest bathing)[]” to the (growing body of studies)[] that show that “a connection with nature makes us healthier and happier people,” the world is waking up to the fact that we need time in nature to be completely whole and well.

Think about it: humans evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in direct contact with the natural world. It’s only been the past 150 years or so that we humans have structured our lives around the indoors, and only quite recently that we’ve spent the bulk of our time indoors, seated, and gazing at screens. We are built to be outside and in motion!

I think nature is an effective remedy for just about everything — from crankiness to anxiety, from fatigue to malaise. I take daily walks, lay in the grass, go barefoot as much as possible. I have a chair at the top of the yard as my (sit spot)[] where I go between work stretches and meetings, and I often go straight out first thing, no matter what the weather, to say good morning to the land. I proudly own the "hippie mom" moniker my kids have given me — because I know what makes me feel good.

I also think kids need daily nature time, even if it's a walk around the block. Nature is everywhere, from state parks to green things growing in the sidewalk cracks. Not everyone has the same access to large natural spaces, but you can watch the birds overhead almost anywhere, and most cities have at least a little green space. Use what you can find.

I'm sure you've witnessed it: nature gets kids inspired. It soothes the crankies. It opens their senses, makes them curious and invites feeling of wonder.

But how to get your kiddos outside?

If you’re like me, you make them. We sent them out, no phones. We created family and friend activities in outdoor spaces. We adults went outside as much as possible and planned visits to new and novel natural spots. Even now, when my adult boys are dysregulated, I advise them (along with encouraging them to get hydrated, eat nourishing foods, and deepen their breathing) to take off their shoes and go stand with their feet on the earth for five minutes. They roll their eyes, but they do it.

(If you're worried about safety, tune into researchers like (Dr. Mariana Brussoni at Outside Play UBC Lab)[]. She talks not only about outside play, but the value of "risky" outside play.)

Better than forcing your children into nature-based activities: inspire them. Martin and Sylvia's outdoor adventures make us ALL want to go outside!

Resistant kids? Try our (Stories to Inspire Outdoor Play)[] playlist or our (roundup of Fun Outdoor Play ideas)[].


About the Author

Lisabeth Sewell

Doer of Many Wonderful and Odd Things (including CEO)

Lisabeth Sewell has worn many hats at Sparkle over the years, from Sparkle Kitchen Blogger to Editorial Director to Doer of All Odd Jobs. Her primary role is as CEO.

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