Many of us grew up in an age when unsupervised play in the natural world was normal - our parents though nothing of sending us off for a day on our own in the forest. But in our understandably less trusting world today do we make enough opportunities for our children to encounter the natural world? And if that doesn't happen as an everyday activity perhaps we need to make time for the walk in the park even if we can't get further afield.
Why take your children for a walk? With more traffic and more of us living in built up urban areas, children often have little access to the natural world. Except maybe (if they’re lucky) for a ‘nature table’ in primary school. Nature becomes an unknown, strange and scary place; the earth become ‘dirt’ to be washed away as quickly as possible. Fewer children now play out of doors and yet research has shown that children who do have a better grasp of language skills, are less prone to obesity and behavioural problems. Perhaps we need to create more opportunities for appreciating the outdoors. The Forest Church movement seeks to include all ages in the experience of appreciating the Creator in creation.
Any opportunity to engage with the natural world, a walk to school or a visit to a friend's garden can be made into a time for interacting with creation. The advice is: ‘don’t rush. Some of the most special moments with children come at the times when you’re not doing anything planned, and this is even truer when you’re outside. Take the time to dawdle, jump in puddles and notice the signs of the seasons together and you’re guaranteed to build some memories that will last a lifetime.’
For more thoughts see http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/grownups/why-should-children-play-outside