With the temptation of TV, the computer and video games, it has become increasingly difficult to get kids to connect with nature, experts say.
So a parent’s challenge is to make getting outside fun and something to do together. That’s the thought behind Jennifer Ward’s new book, i love dirt! 52 activities to help you and your kids discover the wonders of nature (expected out in May).
Some of the activities Ward offers in her book include puddle jumping, cloud chasing and star gazing. "I think it’s important for parents to broaden their child’s experiences as much as they can," Ward says.
"The thing about i love dirt is that it offers an opportunity for parents to get their kids outdoors even if they only have five minutes," she says. "(Parents) will find that not only will their children gain a better appreciation for the outdoors but maybe they’ll see an improvement in their demeanor … who knows what might spark from taking the time to actually connect with nature."
Ward says families can look forward to exploring colors, sounds, animals and weather changes during the spring and summer months.
The author of nine children’s books including There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea, Ward hopes the book will help make getting outside and exploring nature a bigger part of families’ lives.
Time spent outdoors doesn’t have to involve "store-bought toys" and will give kids a deeper appreciation for living things, she says.
"You’re helping your child become a more compassionate person. (The book) is going to make your child a more imaginative person because they’re using these internal elements, their heart (and) their mind."