Don\u2019t you feel different when you are out there soaking up nature? Let\u2019s be honest...connecting with nature has a profound effect on our senses and well-being.\u00a0 Whether we\u2019re mountain-trekking, kayaking, watching wildlife, or just enjoying an outdoor picnic, there\u2019s something about unspoiled nature that simply comforts and nourishes our souls. It lifts our spirits and gives a positive boost to health and well-being, both mentally and physically. It\u2019s unfiltered adventure, discovery, connection, and beauty. We\u2019re seemingly happier. The air is different. It smells sweeter. The sun burns brighter. Above all, humans flourish in nature. That\u2019s the power of nature! Exploring Nature With Your Kids Do you love exploring nature with your kids? Do they love nature?\u00a0 Nature, as we know it, is a place of regeneration, resilience, learning, peace, and escape. Exploring nature helps kids learn the world around them and encourages them to pause and observe the sights, smells and sounds all around them at their nature spots. It\u2019s an incredible learning environment. Mummy, I want to smell this flower... Mummy, I want to touch this... Sounds familiar? Kids are natural explorers. They use all of their senses to explore. They look and listen to observe what\u2019s happening around them, touch what they can reach, smell the fresh scents of nature, and occasionally taste when given permission. They run, jump, dig, and climb as they discover new places. Even better when parents share these outdoor explorations with their kids and foster strong parent-child bonds. Talk, explore, learn, and make awesome memories! Did You Know? Exploring the outdoors advances kids\u2019 intellectual, emotional, social, and physical health.\u00a0 Most of the studies agree that kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors. 7 Safety Tips When Exploring Nature With Your Kids Image Credit: Freepik Explore safely. With their high levels of energy, endless curiosity, and remarkable ability to bounce back from stumbles and falls, kids often put themselves at risk of injury. This can be especially true when they\u2019re exploring the great outdoors. Before heading outdoors, remember that safety is a priority. Nothing ruins a well-planned nature walk or outside activity like a case of poison ivy, scraped knees, or dehydration.\u00a0 That\u2019s why it\u2019s important to stress the importance of safety with your kids, especially while they\u2019re outdoors. Before you let them loose in nice weather, sit down and talk about these safety tips for their next adventure. Be safe rather than sorry later! Image Credit: Getty 1. Establish safe areas We don\u2019t want to get too excited and end up in an area that can ruin the experience! Scout the area prior to the activity. Are bathrooms or water fountains nearby? If not, be prepared for that.\u00a0Are there any hazards, such as wide streams or steep hills that might pose a problem?\u00a0 Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when you\u2019re exploring the outdoors, especially if it\u2019s unfamiliar terrain.\u00a0Prioritise safety and you\u2019ll get an awesome outdoor experience! 2. Always wear sunscreen Heading out? Don\u2019t forget to protect yourself and your kids from the sun\u2019s harsh rays. FACT: Even just 15 minutes in the sun can damage unprotected skin! You might think it\u2019s a cloudy day and so, the sun rays are not harmful.\u00a0 Well, we know most parents do understand the importance of using sunscreen but many may still not be taking all the right steps to properly protect children\u2019s skin - especially when it comes to reapplying. It\u2019s crucial to protect the little ones and yourself from the heat to prevent sunburns and UV radiation that can cause skin cancer, premature wrinkles, and ageing. Sitting down kids long enough to slather the recommended sunscreen all over their skin is no easy task. Their wriggling and writhing combined with the sunscreen\u2019s greasiness make it messy and challenging. But when you bear in mind that just one blistering sunburn before the age of 18 is enough to double the risk of developing melanoma in adulthood, it\u2019s worth the extra effort. Babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of the sun. When going outside, dress your baby in lightweight clothes that cover arms and legs \u2013 and don't forget a hat with a brim. If you can't avoid the sun, you can use a small amount of sunscreen on your baby's exposed skin, like the hands and face. Here Are A Couple Of Tips For Staying Safe From The Sun: \t Stay under the shade \u2013 Babies have very delicate skin, so try to keep them in the shade or under an umbrella. Keep in mind, this doesn\u2019t always offer full protection and sunscreen should still be worn. UV rays are the strongest from 10am to 4pm so try to limit sun exposure during this time when possible. \t Wear sunglasses \u2013 Besides looking especially cool (and adorable) in sunglasses, your little one\u2019s eyes will also be protected from UV rays. Find a pair of kid\u2019s sunglasses with 100% UV protection. \t The baby in the hat \u2013 Hats are great for offering sun protection to the face, eyes, and head. Some kids may not like hats, so try to get them started wearing them as young as possible and use them as a supplement to sunscreen. \t Dress appropriately \u2013 Wear light-coloured, tightly woven clothing to reflect the sunlight. If you\u2019re heading to the beach or pool, consider having your kids wear a rash guard or swim shirt for additional coverage from the sun. \t Use the right sunscreen \u2013 Be sure to educate yourself on all the uses of sunscreen and the best type for your kids before purchasing sunscreen. The AAP offers recommendations on what sunscreen to get based on your kid\u2019s age. \t Reapply \u2013 You should apply sunscreen 15\u201330 minutes prior to going outdoors and reapply regularly throughout the day. Follow the instructions, but typically every 1-2 hours is necessary. Waterproof sunscreens are great for keeping the sunscreen from running into your eyes, but they\u2019re not truly waterproof, so always reapply after being in the water! \t Be aware of the side effects \u2013 Some medications increase skin sensitivity. Ask your healthcare provider and make sure you\u2019re aware if this is the case with any medications your kid is taking. \t Be a good role model \u2013 Make sure you set a good example for your kid by also wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats. When they\u2019re older, explain the risks associated with spending long periods of time in the sun without protection. Other things to Know: \tDon't use a sunscreen with PABA, which can cause skin allergies. \tFor sensitive skin, look for products with the active ingredient titanium dioxide. \tKids who want to use a self-tanner sunscreen should get one that also has UV protection (many offer little or none). \tSome cosmetics that come with sunscreen may not offer enough protection from the sun. It\u2019s safer to put sunscreen on before applying makeup. \tAlthough dark skin has more protective melanin and tans more easily than it burns, tanning is a sign of sun damage. Dark-skinned kids also can get painful sunburns. 3. Remember to hydrate Image Credit:Freepik Watch out for excessive heat! Compared to adults, young kids have a difficult time regulating their body heat and may overheat quickly and at lower temperatures than adults.\u00a0 Remember to take frequent breaks under the shade and fluids to drink. It\u2019s important to stay hydrated. There\u2019s no doubt that kids playing outdoors will sweat profusely. Educate them about the hazards of dehydration and therefore, the importance of replenishing with water \u2013 not sugary drinks. 4. Wear proper clothing and equipment for sports or activities. Time to dress up for your outing! It\u2019s important to dress appropriately, including sturdy closed-toe shoes and long pants. Dress your kids in lightweight thin-layered and long-sleeved clothing that covers as much of the body as possible for protection. It allows for breathability while still protecting against the sun, bugs, scratches, and more. Light-coloured clothing keeps insects at bay. Some insects are attracted to dark colours. Wear a scarf or hat when walking through the woods. The best way to protect the eyes is to wear sunglasses \u2013 again, look for those that provide 100 percent UV protection. 5. Talk about what to do if they see a snake, spider, or other animals and plants that might be scary or a danger. Kids are curious by nature! For kids, everything is new \u2013 even the tiniest things are interesting and exciting.\u00a0They want to touch. They want to smell. They want to hear. They\u2019re just simply curious! Image Credit: Freepik Be cautious when lifting boards or rocks to find animals and insects. Also, be careful to observe what\u2019s living there without disturbing their environment. Encourage kids to look with their eyes instead of disturbing nature. Be wary of brown recluse spiders (also known as violin, or fiddleback), black widow spiders, scorpions, poisonous snakes, and plants like poison ivy.\u00a0 Recognise poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak. If you or your kids come into contact with any of these plants, scrub the exposed area with a dish detergent or strong soap. Also, prepare yourself and your kids to encounter insects and stains. 6. Always carry a customised first aid kit and emergency supplies. Image Credit: Adventure Medical Kits We never know what might happen while exploring the outdoors. It\u2019s hard to predict the things that can possibly happen with Mother Nature. But, we can prepare as a precaution. Take time to customise your first aid kit as well as additional emergency supplies to buffer in all possible scenarios. The reason I propose \u2018customised kit\u2019 is because you want to be sure that you tailor your kit to the kind of trip that you\u2019re taking. Emergency supplies should complement your first aid kit and work to support the basics. Whistles, flashlights, compasses, and blankets are all great examples of additional supplies, which can be used to give you an edge while you\u2019re traversing the outdoors. 7. Utilise emergency contacts Image Credit: Getty Images Sometimes, you may not be able to see your safety measures or have them in close proximity to you. ALWAYS have emergency contacts so that someone somewhere is aware of your whereabouts at all times. This establishes a safety net, so if you don\u2019t check in regularly, someone will know that something is potentially wrong. Also, ensure that you have a list of emergency contacts on your person when you\u2019re travelling so that people know whom to contact in case something goes wrong. We hope these safety tips will help add to a great outdoor experience! Have fun and stay safe! Year-end holidays are great in so many ways, especially when you have fun family activities to fill up your time. For more fun-filled holiday ideas right within your home, visit our Cuti-Cuti Family articles here!