June is National Outdoors Month! Time to get the bikes and butterfly nets out of the garage. Recognizing the importance of the outdoors as a national observance got its start in 1998 when President Clinton launched “Great Outdoors Week” in an effort to encourage Americans to celebrate our relationship with nature. Then on June 5, 2019, the U.S. Senate officially designated June as “Great Outdoors Month.”
While those of us in Girl Scouts have always loved the outdoors, some of us have kept our time with nature limited. But the pandemic changed all that. Now more activities are being held outdoors, and more people are finding their peace and happiness spreading their toes in the grass and smelling the roses.
Research tells us that even 30 minutes of regular outdoor activities boosts self-confidence in girls. Plus, regular and consistent outdoor experiences lead girls to develop a passion for environmental stewardship. Getting outside to explore nature is definitely fun and relaxing. Got a kid that isn’t fond of the great outdoors? Try these tips:
Just. Go. Out.
Start off simply: get the family outside to explore. Live in the moment: enjoy the sun on your skin, feel the wind in your hair, and hear the birds in the trees. Just have fun, but do it outside!
Explore and play together.
Grab a bunch of friends, and head outside for a scavenger hunt. But mix things up by making Mother Nature the theme. Everyone can look for different kinds of bugs and flowers. Scan the sky for different types of clouds.
Try an old-fashioned playtime.
One of the great things about getting outside is that there’s plenty of room to run. So go “old school,” and play some traditional active games. Everyone loves playing hide-and-seek or tag. Amp up the movement by playing tetherball, testing your moves with a hula hoop, or getting your heart going with a jump rope. (Ready for double Dutch?!) And don’t forget to go cycling!
A little dirt never hurt!
Get in touch with the earth, literally. Grab some dirt, a bit of water, and an old bowl or bucket. Mix it all together in the bucket, and then “bake” mud pies on a cookie sheet in the sun. Build a sandcastle if you’re near a beach (or sandbox). Or plant some flowers or delicious herbs, and nurture your nature in a window planter or backyard garden.
Bring the outside inside.
We aren’t all fortunate enough to have easy access to traditional outdoor areas like woods, lakes, or mountain trails. Don’t let that stop you! Go camping in your backyard. No backyard? Go ahead and camp out in the living room. (No campfires, please!)
Kids love the outdoors, so it doesn’t take much to get them outside and running, climbing, exploring, learning, and having a blast. It just takes a little encouragement from parents and the freedom to explore—and they’ll take it from there!
If you have a girl who wants to be an explorer and adventurer, contact the Girl Scouts at www.gsccc.org.