One of our favorite activities to do in the summer time is to head up to the mountains. We live in a beautiful state with plenty of options to get into nature. We are fortunate to have a family cabin we can go to a few times a summer where there is ample fishing, playing in the river and brook and lots of exploring, throwing rocks in the water and getting muddy.
In my opinion getting outdoors into nature is one of the very best activities families can do to create memories and build relationships. There is nothing better than soaking up vitamin D, hearing the running water of the river and occasionally seeing deer, moose and bunnies. Hiking is a great way to set a goal and achieve it and to help our kids do something hard maybe they never imagined they could. Here is a link to an article about the benefits of nature. A quote from the article:
"Being outside feels good. Children are free to explore, move about, and make noise; all delightful forms of self-expression that are often restricted indoors. Being in nature enables children to run, jump, hop, skip, climb, roll, and shout, which relaxes, and reduces tension, anxiety, and restlessness.
Researchers have found that outdoor play calms children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Furthermore, nature enhances a sense of peace and often brings out nurturing qualities in children. Many energetic children slow down to dig a hole in sand, watch a ladybug crawl, or spend focused time playing with a stick in a mud puddle."
Even if you don't have a family cabin or live near the mountains there are opportunities to get into nature everywhere. Exploring new and different places is one of our favorite things to do. We have done geocaching which is kind of like treasure hunting, that is a fun way to explore and go different places.
Letting your children explore, take risks, climb, get dirty, learn new motor skills by climbing trees, jumping over streams, building dams in rivers etc is a great way for them to learn and not even realize they are learning new things!
Teaching our kids to enjoy the slow and simple pace of nature and to be present with them is a wonderful way to combat the ever increasing fast paced society we live in. Learning to enjoy the simplicity that comes when we are in God's creations is a beautiful lesson to teach our children.
"If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive."