We parents often bemoan the amount of time our kids spend on screens of one sort or another, even as we know those electronic devices also have benefits – and, no doubt, are here to stay. But balance is important for people of all ages, and what better way to find balance than by getting out into nature? A wealth of research highlights the benefits of outdoor experience for physical health, focus, creativity, problem-solving and mental health, much thanks to the stress-reducing effects of being in nature. If we and our children learn to know and love nature, we also are more likely to become good stewards of the environment. We care for what we love!
With those benefits in mind, this week’s guest, Sandi Schwartz, has written a practical, inspiring book that is loaded with ways to get the whole family outdoors. In this lively conversation with Marti & Erin, Sandi talks specifically about ways to use electronic devices as a bridge to nature, as well as ideas for building on your children’s individual interests to help them want to get off the couch and out the door. After you listen, check out Sandi’s new book, Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer. Then head out for some fun and exploration with your kids.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HAVE MORE FUN IN NATURE?
Think about each of your children and the things in which they are most interested. What ways could you use those interests to help them outdoors and connected to nature? If your children are very young (infants to three or four), how could you take some of their usual activities outdoors as a way of helping them get hooked on nature before they get hooked on screens?
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FINDING BALANCE AND FUN IN NATURE?
❉ ECOHAPPINESS PROJECT & FINDING ECOHAPPINESS BOOK. Check out the Ecohappiness Project and Sandi Schwartz latest book, Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer. You can also take the free Nature Habit Quiz to see what nature activities your kids will enjoy!
❉ SIMPLE WAYS TO ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF NATURE. Research demonstrates that time in nature increases positive emotions; reduces stress, anger, and fear; decreases blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension; and improves attention and enjoyment in learning. Whether you are the most outdoorsy or a complete novice when it comes to getting outdoors, tune in to this episode for tips for incorporating nature into your home, passions, travel, and even volunteering experiences. Listen as writer, nature psychology enthusiast and Happy Science Mom Blogger, Sandi Schwartz, discusses what she has learned as a mom and scientist about simple ways to enjoy the many benefits of nature.
❉ CONNECTING CHILDREN & NATURE. Check out this helpful tip sheet from Mom Enough’s Dr. Marti Erickson to help your children reap the many benefits of time outdoors at every stage.
❉ GIVING YOUR CHILDREN THE BENEFITS OF NATURE EXPERIENCE. Sheila Williams Ridge joins Marti & Erin to talk about why nature experience is so important, both at school and at home. She offers simple ways we can connect our children with nature, wherever we live and whatever our resources.
❉ THE IMPORTANCE OF NATURE FOR ADULTS. Richard Louv’s book, The Nature Principle, provides new research, grand ideas and practical tips for integrating nature, large and small, into our homes, schools and communities. (As Louv says, the more technology we have, the more nature we need!) This Mom Enough show is a great chance to be inspired by Louv’s vision and to get ideas you can put to use right here, right now – ideas that can reduce stress and enhance the health and well-being of your whole family.
❉ PRACTICAL IDEAS TO CONNECT CHILDREN AND NATURE: A CONVERSATION WITH AUTHOR RICHARD LOUV. San Diego journalist Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods has written a follow-up book, Vitamin N, zeroing in on concrete strategies for families, schools, healthcare organizations and communities. Tune into Rich’s conversation with Marti & Erin for inspiration and tips on what you can do to make sure your children and others in your community get the “vitamin N” they need!