Olympics #5: Olympic Challenge to Connect to Nature

The Opening Ceremony in Rio issued an Olympic challenge to connect to nature. “It is not enough to stop harming the planet, it is time to start healing it,” was the message to the world. Each athlete was given a native tree seed and a small container of soil. They were invited to plant it in a nearby park, to start an Athletes Forest. This is a legacy that will grow.

Olympic challenge to connect to nature


Connecting to nature is a must for children. In the space of only one generation, children have been isolated from spending a huge part of their day outside. Yet, the need is still there. This lack of time in nature has been a factor in such concerns as increased obesity, anxiety, and depression in children. The healthy development of eyesight has been impacted with the high stimulation of electronic devices and the decrease of exposure to natural light.

For a play-of-the-day, let’s take the message of the Games to heart to spend some time in nature. Here are 10 suggestions:

  • Go for a hike or nature walk. Nature isn’t limited to wilderness, it’s in neighborhoods too. Look around for trees, rocks, flowers, sky, and clouds. Turn over a rock to check for bugs and other critters.
  • Spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic.
  • Blankets also make great forts. Is there a space to make one outside?
  • Pick up sticks. A stick is like nature’s magic wand.

    play with sticks

  • Nature chefs. Kids can make their own nature soup with bits of grass, flowers, leaves, and other treasures. Stir with a stick.
  • Roll down a hill. Some areas have hills just right for rolling. Adults need to check for rocks and other hazards and make sure it’s a safe space.
  • I Spy with a little eye something that is green. There should be lots of things green. Try other colors too.
  • I Spy with a little ear something that is soft, like a bird song, or a breeze in the trees. Nature makes loud sounds too like waves crashing and rocks smashing.
  • Follow the leader is a fun game. Take turns being leaders along paths, over rocks, and beside streams. Sometimes, leaders just want to lie down and look at the clouds.

    nature treasure hunt

  • Treasure or scavenger hunts are always interesting. Kids can search on their own, or you can name things for them to find.

How will your family answer the Olympic challenge to connect to nature?

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