Turn off the television. Power down the computer. Hand over the Nintendo DS. It’s time to unplug and get our heads thinking, our hands doing, and our bodies moving. Here are a few activities that can help develop a generation of kids that are mindful of their environment, themselves, and others.
1. Take a walk. Take a stroll, a wagon ride, a jog. Play tag, hide-and-go-seek, climb a tree. It really doesn’t matter. Just get your kids together and get outside. What better way to take in mother nature than to be surrounded by it? Point out the sunlight and how it feels on your face. Be conscious of your breath as you inhale the fresh air. Look up at the beautiful blue sky and twirl in circles. Round and round, again and again. Go on, get out there.
2. Read. Read. Read. Set aside the Kindle and Nook and head out to the local library for story time. If you don’t live close to a library pick some children’s books from your own collection. Sit down with the kids and have them turn the pages, point out characters, and pick their favorite parts. Get them involved in the story by letting them act out scenes from the book. Ask them questions about the story and listen closely as their imaginations run wild.
3. Yoga. Yoga gives kids (and adults too!) strength, flexibility, discipline, and balance. Yoga is a joyous way to connect with your mind and body. The challenges presented with each pose help to promote confidence and self-compassion. There are so many fun yoga poses for kids to do as well. Some of these include: Tree Pose (Vrksasana), Butterfly, Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), and Child’s Pose (Balasana).
4. Arts & Crafts. There’s nothing like covering the table in paper and pulling out the glue, crayons, paint, and glitter. So many fun memories to be made by drawing and creating original works of art. For added texture and style you can include yarn, buttons, popsicle sticks, aluminum cans, water bottles, and so on. Check out Pinterest for more ideas.
5. Garden. Ready. Set. Garden. Grab an old window box or use a beach pail. Have the kids shovel in some soil and plant some herbs together. If you have the ability to grow your own garden, get the kids involved with planning which fruits and vegetables or flowers to grow, when and where to plant them, and then break ground together. Plan a day to visit the local nursery and have the kids pick out their own gardening gloves and shovels. Gardening projects are a great way to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.
6. Prepare food together. Start by shopping at the local farmer’s market or ideally your own backyard garden. Teach your children the importance of supporting local food. Help them connect with their food by explaining how it is grown, packaged, and delivered. After the food is picked or bought, get the kids in the kitchen and show them how to wash it. Then prepare a dish together. Finally, sit down at the table and relish in the beauty of nourishing your body with healthy sustainable foods.