Exploring the Outdoors

Discover the Forest, a PSA campaign aimed to inspire tweens (aged 8-12) and their parents to re-connect with nature, offers some useful tips for enjoying the outdoors with youth and staying safe:

  • Animals have their own food, so please don’t feed them.
  • Berries and mushrooms might look tasty, but they can make you sick or worse – be careful not to eat them.
  • Forests can be dangerous during thunderstorms.
  • Don’t go swimming unless there’s a lifeguard.
  • Train tracks are for trains – stay off them.
  • Watch out for the sun – wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water.
  • Always wear a helmet when biking.
  • If someone gets hurt, seek help from an appropriate authority – a Forest or Park Ranger, Police Officer, etc.
  • Always be careful with fire when you’re out in nature. Visit www.SmokeyBear.com to learn more.

To make the most of your time with nature keep the following in mind:

  • If exploring the great outdoors is new to you or your child, there’s no need to be scared. Take it slow; start out in a nearby forest or park, or even your own yard.
  • Check out a basic field guide from your library. Field guides offer information about a specific area, including the types of plants and animals there.
  • Provide the time and space for free play. One of nature’s many gifts is the opportunity for unstructured play, highly valuable to a child’s cognitive development.
  • Help kids experience nature on their own terms. It’s okay to provide a little guidance – turning over a rock or pointing out different birds – just be sure to leave enough space for their imagination to act as a guide.

To learn more about exploring nature and to find outdoor activities visit Discover the Forest. They even have a whole Book of Stuff to Do! This truly is a great resouce to take advantage of.

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