Go play outside: 9 keys to raising nature-loving kids

Go play outside: 9 keys to raising nature-loving kidsMy parents likely didn’t set out to raise a kid who wanted to be outdoors – it just came natural for them. My dad had a garden, and my mom “put up” everything that was harvested. I, of course, was expected to help, not only with the garden but with the beehives on our property near the adjacent cotton fields in rural Tennessee. We were outside a lot.

Those are fond memories, of course, even though I didn’t particularly enjoy the humid days in the South. But somewhere along there, I learned to enjoy being outside.

I’m now a father, and I’m trying to instill into my three children an even greater love for nature – God’s creation – than I had at their age.

But these are challenging times. A British survey showed that children today spend 10 times more hours watching TV than they do playing outdoors. Another poll showed that only 40 percent of children would rather play outside than inside.

Video games and electronics are a big culprit. Another is decreased open space in urban areas. I’ve begun reading Richard Louv’s 2005 book “Last Child In The Woods,” which examines how we can save our children from what he calls “Nature Deficit Disorder.” His book has me wondering: What can we as parents do to keep our children from becoming indoor hermits?

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‘Dad, what’s the Trinity?’ – 6 resources for kids’ Bible questions

‘Dad, what’s the Trinity?’ – 6 resources for kids’ Bible questionsOne night I was putting my 5 year old to bed when he threw me a curve ball.

“Dad, will my teddy bear be in heaven?”

Without thinking much about his emotions or the way he might react, I quickly told him, “No, he won’t. We don’t get to take any of our stuff to heaven.”

I thought I had handled that one just fine – until my son started crying. I soon realized that to him, heaven wasn’t sounding so great after all. I cleaned up the mess, explaining to him how wonderful heaven was and how everything in heaven was going to be much greater than what we have here.

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out the best way to answer that one.

Other times, though, the answers are much easier. Like the other night, when, for his bedtime, we had a discussion about the deity of Christ and the Trinity. Continue reading