In my family we make it a goal to have unstructured play in nature every day. Unstructured play in my family means giving my children access to a safe environment without toys, playground equipment, electronics, etc. and give them the opportunity to explore nature and learn to be creative on their own. I notice a huge behavioral change when we don’t take time to spend in nature. My children tend to be calmer, more obedient and happier when we spend time outside. Child development specialists have preached the benefits of nature play for years, just a few of the benefits are: an increase in your children’s academic potential, social skills and creativity.
During the cold months of winter our goal of spending time in nature becomes more difficult. Depending on how low the temperatures are keeps us from staying out too long but the following is a quick activity my girls enjoy to do. After a new snow or rainfall they love to investigate our yard, the park or the empty field by our home for fresh animal tracks. They try to imagine what the animal is, what journey it was on and make up stories about the creature throughout their day. During these last few weeks of winter be sure to try this activity!