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Children's Crafts and Activities Mental health & Wellbeing

The benefits of nature and ways to get out and enjoy it.

This Summer lets go wild, get outside and enjoy nature at its best. Nature can really help improve our health and the more we embrace it, the more we will benefit.

Why not get the whole family together to enjoy the great outdoors, breathe in the fresh air and don’t be afraid to get dirty.

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There has been so many studies showing how beneficial spending time in nature can be for both adults and children. An article I found by the BBC reported that spending time in nature can improve vitality, mood and also help anxiety.

I also found on Askthescientist.com a list of 10 interesting health benefits of being in nature these include strengthening the immune system and relieving stress.

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With mental health problems on the rise in today’s society and more and more children suffering from stress and anxiety we owe it to ourselves and families to use the healing powers of nature. We need to all take time out from our stressful lives and enjoy some relaxation in our natural surroundings.

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Here is a list of ways you can get out with the kids and enjoy nature this summer  –

Bug Hunts

Get the kids digging around in the dirt, looking under stones and in the plant pots to see what bugs they can find. This will help children understand about habitats and they get to see bugs up close. Playing in the dirt has health benefits and there have also been links to it helping fight depression.

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Grow your own Vegetables

This is a lovely way to enjoy the outside world as a family you can spend a day together planting your favourite fruit and vegetables and once planted everyone can watch them grow and tend to them. The best reason to grow your own fruit and vegetables is that you are rewarded with delicious home grown produce which always tastes so much better than anything food you buy in shops.

Even if you don’t have a garden you can grow produce in pots and grow bags or go all out and get an allotment.

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Wild swimming/paddling

Wild swimming is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in nature it is both invigorating and refreshing. This can be done in rivers, natural pools or even the sea. Here is a website with a list of places you go wild swimming. Wild swimming can also help boost your immune system and can decrease inflammation and pain. Please do check that it is a safe place to swim beforehand especially in a river.

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Nature walks

Just getting out for a walk with the family is a great way to really enjoy nature and there is always so much to see. There are lots of set walks throughout the UK and with the wonder of the internet you can find routes and walking trails before you leave. The National Trust has a list of UK walks and also the Forestry Commission has a list of woodland walks around the country.

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The beach

I love the beach and always find it a relaxing environment. There is always something for everyone to enjoy at the beach and it is perfect way to get out and enjoy the natural environment. We do tend to avoid the highly commercialised beaches and stick to the quieter more natural beaches.   

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Build a Den

Den building is a great activity that everyone can join in with it brings out the inner child in you. Whether you hunt for and collect your own materials to build a den or you go to a wood  where materials have already been provided for you it will be an enjoyable activity for all.

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My girls found all these materials left in the bush by the builders and built themselves a den out of them.

Pond Dipping

Pond dipping is a lot of fun and can teach you a lot about what lies below our rivers/ponds and is a very relaxing activity. Just listening to the trickling of the water can help calm any mood.

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Why not also read my other posts –

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

The Fun that can be had in open spaces

10 Cheap Activities to do with the Children this summer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

The Benefits of Pond Dipping with Children

I think it is so important for kids to be kids, to explore, get messy, discover nature and what is around them. I am always on the lookout for new exciting ways to get the children into nature and the great outdoors.

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A great inexpensive way for this is pond dipping. We are lucky to have a beautiful river running through are local park that is teaming with pond life. The nets themselves are very cheap, I got two of them from Amazon and the other we picked up last year at the beach.

This time that we went  pond dipping we couldn’t even find our bucket so I used an old takeaway tub that I had cleaned out but if you do have a bucket it would be better. We normally use a crab bucket as they are clear so children can easily peer through and see what is inside the bucket.

My girls had an amazing time, we were fishing for ages and found all sorts of creatures. The excitement on their faces every time they pulled the net up from the river and found something inside of it. After about 30 mins we had caught two fish, a few caddis fly larvae, a great pond snail, a slug and a pond skater.

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We also fished out two bees that fell into the water, my girls were please that they had saved their lives. It was great for the girls to get so close to the bees and have a real good look at them.

They could see that as long as the bees are left alone they are harmless to us. The bees were actually mid mating which is probably the reason they landed in the water in the first place, but to the eyes of the innocent child it was a mother bee and her baby.

It was amazing to get so close to them and one of the bees was the biggest bee I had ever seen. As you can see from the picture the bee at the back is an average size bee but looks small in comparison. 

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The girls also fished out a butterfly that fell in but unfortunately it wasn’t so lucky. Alexa also pointed out a really big dragonfly she had spotted and as we were all watching it fly around it swooped above our heads and caught a butterfly and flew off with it.

It’s amazing what you can see just from being by the river and taking a good look around. The fun didn’t stop there as on the way back to the car the girls were chasing the butterflies with the fishing nets trying to catch them. We only managed to catch one but the girls had great fun trying. Not to mention the exercise they got from running backwards and forwards chasing after them.  

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The girls then decided to use the nets to go on a bug hunt. They heard the grasshoppers in the long grass and discovered if they used the nets they could catch them. It was the first time they had actually seen a grasshopper and enjoyed watching how far they can jump and listening to the noise they make.

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Pond dipping is a great day out that is inexpensive and provides so many learning opportunities for children and adults. It kept my girls amused and interested for hours and gave them a hands on learning experience that they will remember a lot longer than seeing pictures in a book. 

Me and the girls all gave pond dipping a big thumbs up and will definitely be returning again during the holidays and I recommend to any parent looking for activities to do with children over the summer to give pond dipping a try.

If you enjoyed reading this post why not also read my post –

The Benefits of Nature and Ways to get out and Enjoy it

10 cheap activities to do with children this summer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.