Family Activities is Great for Mental Health

Mental Health Activities – From a trip to a state or national park, regular visits to a playground, or just quality time in the backyard, the great outdoors has traditionally been a huge source of fun and memories for families. Of course, between smartphones, home theaters, and social media, we’ve invented more and more reasons to stay inside.

family activities for mental health

While it may be tempting or even easier to do so, here are a few reasons why your family should still take the effort to step outside regularly.

Fresh Air and Sunlight

Let’s start with basic human biology: just as plants need fresh air, sunlight, and water to thrive, so do people! Vitamin D from sunlight can provide lots of benefits, including improved mood. One of the lead causes of seasonal affective disorder (or SAD) is a like of sunlight in the winter months, leading to vitamin D deficiencies. You can cure your whole family if they have vitamin D deficiencies.

That doesn’t mean it has to be a sunny day for your family to reap the benefits of Mother Nature. While it’s certainly silly and even dangerous to be out in a storm, a walk in the puddles after the drizzling has stopped can be lots of fun. Put some kids rain pants, galoshes, and coats on your children, and go on a puddle-jumping, worm-finding adventure!

A Better Appreciation for Nature

It’s great for kids to learn about ecosystems in school. But it’s invaluable for them to experience them first hand. A nature hike gives you the chance to impress them by telling them what you know about the plants, trees, and animals you see. It also lets them see, smell, hear, and (when appropriate) touch the things they’ve learned about. Observing animals in their natural habitat, from birds to squirrels or deer, will give them a healthy respect for living things and the connected nature of life on Earth.

Camping and Survival Skills

Shifting gears, let’s look at a more practical reason for spending time outdoors with your family. If you choose to make a day or a weekend of your adventure and spend time camping, you will be able to teach your children some handy survival skills. Is it likely they’ll ever need to use them in a matter of life and death? No, but it’s very useful to know how to navigate your way if you are lost in the woods, start a fire, or tie several types of knots. It’s also helpful to show them how to cook over a fire pit and pitch a tent. The main point of this is to give them a new experience and learn something new. Even if they never use it in the real world, they may pass it on and show their children how to do the same things on a camping trip.

Understanding of the Environment and Conservation

As your family builds an appreciation for nature, this is a great time to educate your children about what is good for the environment and what is bad for it. You should probably wait until after elementary school to dive into this, but you can talk about the threats of deforestation, depletion of the ozone layer, littering, and wildfires. You can use these teachable moments to explain how the earth provides non-renewable resources, and how they can help be good stewards of the environment.

Great Family Memories

Above all else, outdoor activities can create unforgettable family memories. Something as simple as pushing your child on a swing in the neighborhood park, chasing them up a jungle gym ladder, or a game of tag can instill them with pure, unbridled joy. While it will be easy for that to burn into your memory as a parent, it can have just as much, if not more, of a lasting effect on a child as well.

Planet Earth is a big and beautiful place, with so many things to experience and enjoy. There will always be time for video games and movies. Put in a little effort and take the time to get your family outside. You’ll be glad you did!

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Article Author Details

Kevin Gardner

Kevin Gardner loves writing about technology and the impact it has on our lives, especially within businesses.