Limiting time in front of screens, on tablets and under headphones doesn’t always have to make you feel like a tough parent. Inspiring your children to experience the outdoors and engaging with nature can be equally, if not more exciting - if you let them know what’s in it for them.
As New Zealanders we have land and sea at our fingertips and as parents it’s our privilege, if not our duty, to get as much sand between our children’s toes and soil under their little nails as possible. Setting them up with a connection to the natural world will last their lifetime. And it’s not just our gut feeling drawing us outdoors. Ongoing research recognises that engrossing our children’s senses, particularly when they’re at the ripe age of between six and 10, helps them take ownership of our environment and develop behaviour greatly needed for a sustainable future.
So how could we possibly convince them to trade in their ipad for a pair of trainers and an open mind? Perhaps guide them to the directory of adventures and activities online where they can explore destinations, download maps and plan the next family outing with your help. And why would they want to do that? Because it’s an opportunity to go as far as your surrounding national parks, reserves, beaches or as near as the back fence to earn a Kiwi Guardian medal – and for some of the older siblings, perhaps some ‘gram worthy’ landscapes too.
Local organisations passionate about making it easy to explore and protect our nearby spaces – Toyota New Zealand and the Department of Conservation, have founded a programme that gets kids into nature and rewards them for it, all while making it simple and fun for families. Kiwi Guardian medals are easy to redeem - all you need to do is take action in an activity or visit a Guardian Post nearby. Different activities reward different medals so it won’t take long to gain momentum before your child is begging to get out from behind their screens and into the outdoors.
Explore the activities online at kiwiguardians.co.nz and discover how you can help your child get excited about nature.