Ideas for Outdoor Fun
Ami Lin, 4-H Youth Development Agent
K-State Research & Extension - Johnson County
Nature deficit disorder. No, it is not a disorder recognized by medical or psychological professionals. However, it is a word urging parents to take their children outdoors. Many school children spent the last year attached to a computer, TV, or phone. Spending time outdoors has physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages.
Set up treasure hunts: Why wait until next Easter to organize a treasure hunt for your child? Hide a few shiny or bright items and get your child to explore!
Put your senses into action: Go on a hike as a family and choose a spot to sit or stand quietly. Discuss what you see, hear, smell and feel, then write a poem about the outdoors. Activity: Sensory Poem
Plant a garden: May is the perfect time to start some of your favorite vegetables like tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, and beans. Let your child be in charge of watering the vegetable garden daily and encourage them to go outside and make observations. Make use of the KSRE Garden Guide for tips.
Grab a tool: Put on some gloves, grab a magnifying glass and see what critter you might be able to find under the mulch or dead leaves!
Create art projects: Gather flowers and leaves (with permission) and make beautiful art by making a flower/leaf press. It's a great way to capture the beauty of the seasons. Activity: Make a Plant Press
Find patterns in nature: Patterns are everywhere in nature! Use this leaf scavenger hunt activity and challenge your child to go out and find different types of leaves. Activity: Leaf Scavenger Hunt
Make it a goal to spend at least 20-minutes outdoors daily!