“You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day… unless you are busy, then you should sit for an hour.” — Zen Proverb
Nature has been proven to positively impact mental health while promoting calmness and creativity. Spending some time outside with the kiddos helps everyone disconnect from the bustle of life, and reconnect with what’s important.
In the Willamette Valley, we’re fortunate to have stunning natural beauty all around us. No need to wait for a sunny day in Oregon — the clouds and winter mist bring their own special beauty. Bundle up and try this simple mindfulness exercise with your kids, that we call Nature Sit Spots:
1. Grab paper, pens or pencils and take your little ones outside to a quiet, safe spot to sit. “Nature” can be deep in the woods, your yard or a local park. Don’t overthink it!
2. If you have more than one child, ask that they sit far away from each other so as to not distract those around them.
3. This is too easy: Whisper your directions to set the tone for this activity. Ask them to sit quietly with their pen and paper. They can draw what they see around them, journal, pick at the grass, etc. The only rule is they must be quiet and stay in their Sit Spot.
4. Continue this activity for as long as your kiddo can remain quiet and focused. We may notice that our children find it difficult to sit in one spot for more than a few minutes. That’s okay! Help them focus by pointing out something in nature for them to draw, hold, smell, etc. If the struggle is too real, be flexible and end the activity. The next time you try, they’ll likely be able to engage longer.
5. Watch the magic, take cleansing breaths and enjoy the moment for yourself, too.
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