After an endless year of screens, Zoom and TikTok, the great outdoors might be the refresh button we’re all been waiting to hit to clear our minds and get us moving.
The Phoenix area alone is a mecca for urban hiking and exploration. There is a multitude of trails filled with majestic saguaros, bunny ears cactus, tubby quails and the occasional reptile sighting. At every direction, adventure abounds for all ages. It’s no surprise why people flock to Papago Park, Camelback Mountain or even Desert Botanical Garden, especially during cooler weather.
The benefits of playing in nature, especially for multigenerational families, are wide ranging. Spending time outdoors can help build children’s productive social skills while playing with others. It sparks curiosity. And it helps to reduce stress and fatigue.
There are 64 million Americans who live in a multigenerational household, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center.
While it may seem obvious families of all ages play together, a study from United Kingdom researchers suggest quite the opposite. One in five parents said they have forgotten how to play with their children, according to a 2010 U.K. report by psychologist Tanya Byron.
But there is appetite from children to have those shared experiences outdoors. The report discovered that 75% of children surveyed preferred outdoor play with parents or grandparents over video games.
Outdoor play doesn’t have to be boring, nor does it have to involve playground swings or monkey bars.
A successful multigenerational activity considers the needs of everyone in the family. The goal is to get everyone engaged and involved.
There are a number of activities outdoors for the whole family to enjoy, including gardening, biking, tree climbing or camping.
Even without a bike, gardening tools or camping gear, families can make the most of playing outside with a little imagination.
Take a stick for example. Encourage your child to think what that stick could be. A fishing pole? Antlers? Maybe a magic wand? When children are in nature, they are naturally curious about the items they find. And you’d might be surprised where their imagination takes them.
The Garden is launching an activity kit to encourage multigenerational families to play outdoors and learn about nature. Cactus Kids Activity Kit is designed for children 7 to 12, and includes six different activities with instructions in English and Spanish. The kit includes some of the Garden’s most popular excursions like nature walks, bird watching and hands-on explorations.
Although the summer heat might dissuade parents from partaking in some of these activities during the day, there is plenty to explore at night.
Whether it’s at the Garden, a local park, a mountain or your backyard, nature play is important for multigenerational families to stop looking at their devices and create memories.
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