David Suzuki is challenging each and every one of us to get outside and spend more time in nature. The 30×30 Challenge is challenging us to spend 30 minutes a day in nature reconnecting with others and with nature for the sake of our well-being (both mental & physical) during the month of May.
We’ve taken him to the challenge. And why not, I’m a HUGE advocate of getting outside, but also struggle with making it a priority. If you don’t already know, my background is in Environmental Studies and I wrote my final undergrad report on the benefits of nature and children’s health and well being.
We’ve taken up this challenge. This is how we are playing & learning this year.
Getting Outside in Nature
We are going to get outside and spend time this month in nature and since this is a 30 day challenge, we’re going to try to mix it up and explore new things.Maybe we’ll try some of these activities during our 30x30challenge
- Walk the dogs!
- Visit the park with our baby friends.
- Go for a hike/walk.
- Visit a park we haven’t been too.
- Garden, and dig in the dirt.
- Play in the sand at the lake/river.
- Collect rocks.
- Explore and feel new surfaces with my crawling infant.
- Take a picnic.
- Tackle unpleasant weather with something fun for the baby!
- Take time for it even on our busy days.
On a very basic level, we all instinctually know that time spent interacting with nature and the environment is good for us. We feel better after we’ve walked with the grass under our feet, with the trees around and with sound of babbling creeks. This very basic understanding is also very scientifically proven. From improved recovery times in hospitals (when nature is brought into the room or viewed thru the window) to increasing mental health well-being amongst children, adults and seniors, nature is just good for us.
- Nature is restorative of psychological functioning.
- Attention Restoration Theory
- (Kaplan, R., & S. Kaplan. (1989). The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective. New York, New York: Cambridge Press.)
- Stress Reduction Theory
- (Ulrich, R. S. (1981). Natural versus urban scenes some psychophysiological effects. Environment and Behavior, 13(5), 523-556. )
- Attention Restoration Theory
- Nature alleviates struggles of the urban setting, not limited to anger and aggression
- (Hartig, T., Evans, G. W., Jamner, L. D., Davis, D. S., & Gärling, T. (2003). Tracking restoration in natural and urban field settings. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 23(2), 109-123. )
- Higher levels of functioning exhibited in ADD/ADHD children who experience play in green settings
- (Taylor, A. F., Kuo, F. E., & Sullivan, W. C. (2001). Coping with ADD the surprising connection to green play settings. Environment and Behavior, 33(1), 54-77.)
- Close proximity to natural landscapes is shown to help children cope with life stress and handle hardship and struggles more successfully than other peers.
- (Wells, N. M., & Evans, G. W. (2003). Nearby Nature: a buffer of life stress among rural children. Environment and Behavior, 35(3), 311-330. )
Wanna enjoy a new book this year? Check out Last Child in the Woods it’s an awesome read about the value of nature and children’s play <3
Do it for their Future.
At the end of the day, I want Walter to spend more time in nature not because I’m against screen time & technology. I want Walter to spend more time in nature because I want them to create a sense of belong & identity with the natural environment.
Children who have had positive experiences in nature and been exposed to parks, grass, gardens, etcetera are more likely to develop a sense of rootedness, loyalty and connection to the landscape. It is this connection that can help foster responsibility and respect to our community and help us build a better future for them and their children.
I think if we all spend time in nature we can learn to value nature. In valuing nature, we will take strides in respecting nature and making choices that help ensure our children can enjoy nature, and the many generations going forward.
Follow us on Instagram for our daily adventure in nature! Give us a shout out on one of our posts and we’ll be sure to follow you back in your #30x30challenge
Its Never too late
Sign up today and get started. Every extra minute we spend in nature is that much better for families and communities.