What is one of the easiest ways to increase a kid’s wellbeing? Get them outside. Many research studies show how important outdoor time is for mental and physical wellbeing, so a kid’s early love of nature will serve them very well throughout their life. We hope our POP-UP Mini Box this month helps the children in your life spend more time cherishing nature and the great outdoors.
by Colin Meloy
Each month we will be featuring the story of a past POP-Up Festival host. Meet Mike, director of Learn with Dragonfly, a Six Seconds’ Preferred Partner whose mission is to get kids learning and exploring outside.
What are some obstacles for getting kids outside, and how can we overcome them? It can be a lot of effort to get kids outside. This leads to a reliance on technology as a diversion for kids because it is so much easier. But we can model the love of outdoors for kids. Parents need to be the role models for the children– we can show them how fun it is to be outside, how to play safely, and show them that spending time together outside is special.
Can you share an experience you’ve had leading outdoor experiences with children? In November, I was sitting at the top of a cliff, overlooking a wooded valley talking with a boy. The conversation turned to his family life, specifically about his time together with his father. The boy shared with me how sad he was that he spent almost no time with his father. During he week, he would see him for five minutes as he walked out the door to work. On the weekends, groups of parents would get together and the kids were expected to play together with the maids. We talked about his hopes, fears, and goals, and the day ended far too soon.
In January, I saw the boy again, and as soon as he saw me, he ran up and hugged me. Delighted, I asked how things were going since we had seen each other last. He told me that he had talked to his dad about spending time together, and now they spend every Saturday together just the two of them. The smallest interaction can have the biggest impact.
2. Keep it simple! Outside could be the local park or even the garden! Just lying down in the grass, feeling the wind across your body, hearing the trees rustle and the birds chirping.
3. Look at Tripadvisor, see what the local tourist walks are, and walk them!
4. Ask the kids what they want to do!
5. Open a map, stick a pin or a dart in it and go there.
“Shinrin-yoku” is the Japanese practice of spending time in the forest to increase wellbeing. In English, it translates to “forest bathing.”
Kitchen Table Question:
“What’s your favorite thing to do outside?”