Summer break is right around the corner and, while kids are getting excited, parents might be growing worried about keeping their kids happy, healthy and engaged in the summer months. Increasingly, people of all ages are spending more time in front of screens, which has led to some concerns and a goal of reducing the amount of screen time a child has and monitoring the quality of that screen time. With less structured schedules, summer break can be a time when young people get caught up in excessive amounts of passive entertainment, instead of exploring, observing and enjoying nature.
Spending time in nature often takes a backseat to an interest in new technologies and screen time, but the two needn’t be mutually exclusive. In the spirit of supporting the development of nature-loving young people and families, we have devised a list of things to do with your kids this summer, that can still utilize cool technology, but will definitely inspire the mind with a sense of place and wonder about the natural world.
1. Complete a Passport To Nature with Nature Kids BC:
Earn a certificate and a surprise gift by downloading the Passport To Nature and attending an Explorer Days event, a shoreline clean-up, or an organized outdoor trip or tour. Passports can be signed by, either an Explorer Day leader, or a parent/guardian.
Explorer Days are nature-related outings, organized by Nature Kids volunteers, province-wide.
Find out what events are happening near you.
2. Become a citizen scientist with the NatureHoods App!
With this app you can identify and record the animals and plants you find in your neighbourhood, a local park or beach. Your findings will help scientists to understand the density of wildlife in your area and that will contribute to research about those species. The app also features a database of findings in your area, so you can seek out specific wildlife and it offers information about the species you might find.
Notice, Engage and Wonder about nature with your kids this summer. When people spend time in nature, the health effects are known to extend to both physical and mental health. Still, spending time in nature isn’t often prioritized. In this challenge, family teams are tasked with getting outside together to simply notice what the sky looks like, how the plants look, what animals you hear. Engage by touching things, climbing around and getting a little dirty. And don’t worry if you don’t know everything about the biodiversity in your area, just asking the questions is all it takes to inspire wonder.
4. Join a Nature Club
Across the province, BC Nature: Federation of BC Naturalists can connect you with a nature club in your region. Meet nature-lovers, learn about a specific region and get involved in nature preservation.
Put those phone cameras (or regular cameras) to good use by observing and documenting the amazing nature of BC.
Nature Canada is hosting a photo contest in a variety of themes. Find out more about this contest.
Canadian Geographic is hosting “The Great Trail Photo Competition” which is a Great Trail-themed contest (formerly known as Trans Canada Trail).
The Great trail might be closer than you think. Did you know that most Canadians live within 30 minutes of The Great Trail? Check out the Map.