In 2017, Deloitte found that Australians have increased their time in front of television screens to an average of 17.5 hours a week. Our environment is becoming more and more based around technology, meaning our children are increasingly likely to find themselves in front of a screen.
It’s easy to see why concerns arise for parents. Certainly we’d prefer our children outside and exercising in nature, interacting with and learning about the world around them. Thankfully, there’s no reason the two need to be exclusive from each other.
Nature Based Edu-tainment
First and foremost, television isn’t bad. It can be extraordinarily helpful in getting your child outside. You don’t want to go overboard and make a massive entertainment centre that your child never wants to leave, but the best mix of television and education is something compact, preferably with smart technology. Smart technology gives you plenty of benefits, but it’s especially important because it opens up a slew of new ways that you can learn with your child.
There’s dozens of programs that can help get your children interested in the world around them. One of the most popular programs right now is Brave Wilderness, a child-friendly internet based network hosted by Coyote Peterson. Each episode has him exploring wilderness like tide pools, swamps, and even showcasing beautiful national parks around the world.
Interactive Nature Play
One often overlooked way that you can have your child interacting with the nature around them is gardening. It’s easy to assume that gardening exclusively involves getting out in the hot sun and kneeling in the dirt while you painstakingly care for crops, but today’s technology offers great alternatives.
There’s plenty of ways that you can grow plants indoors. Under-viewed techniques like hydroponics offer a clean, cheap, and environmentally friendly alternative to twisting your back to plow the soil. Once you’ve set up your system, your child can watch their hard work as it grows with pride. There’s even more complicated setups that allow you to work plants into a fish tank, allowing the two to symbiotically support each other.
Out in the Sun
Once you’re outside, there’s no shortage of gadgets and fun techy toys that your child can utilise. Apps like Tree ID Australia help you identify and learn plant-life instantly, and there’s similar apps for any other flora and fauna. There’s even apps that help your child learn star and constellation names! Nature Play also has a Nature Passport App, which is an international app designed to get kids and families playing, exploring, and learning outdoors.
If you want to take the interaction even further, consider purchasing or constructing something to allow them to study the world around them. Your child might cherish the chance to capture a bug and study the creepy crawly under a magnifying glass. A magnifying glass and a sample of pond water can expose your child to things they never knew existed.
But be Safe!
Being outdoors can still require a level of preperation. Before you send your child out to explore the world around them, make sure you’re properly equipping them. Safety gear, sunscreen, and proper hydration are vital if you’re spending prolonged hours exploring. Above all, make sure that any little adventurers have proper supervision. Once everyone’s safety is ensured, have fun learning about the nature around you!