Helping Kids Gain Balance between Gadgets and Nature

By: Guest Contributor, Kimberly Grimms

The world is hurriedly becoming an incubator of technology and innovation. Every minute a child is born, a robot is honed. With every gadget, the more robotic entertainment and interaction get. Indeed, technology means it when it brags about staying connected 24/7.

As we all experience plodding cultural change, an extinction of outdoor play among kids is observed. Every one couldn’t agree more.


Photo courtesy of Aperturismo via Flickr

Seeing this plight, it is pertinent to ask certain questions to ourselves. Should we continue moving on in this vicious circle involving technology on our kids’ daily life? Or, should we renounce the confines of daily life and start having our kids in the lap of the future? One more pick, should we take a path somewhere in between?

You and your kids don’t have to choose between technology and nature. Combine nature and gadgets with these exciting outdoor play activities with your kids!

1.     A Nature-themed Photowalk

Ask them to prepare their phones and cameras, not to take pictures of them but, go outside and take pictures of nature, the whole family and your outdoor activities. You can get the kids fall in love with nature through bighearted photowalk or make a family video, while having picnic outside.  Let kids use their gadgets to capture the most amazing nature shot. Let them look for birds and flowers to take pictures of it. Prepare mouth-watering and healthy food and prepare mindful and nature-based games. Before the day ends, take a look at the pictures they took and see who have the eye for photography.


Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk via Flickr

 2.     Technology-themed Treasure Hunt

Encourage group cooperation, problem solving, following directions, thinking and reasoning with this extremely exciting game – treasure hunt.  Prepare colorful costumes and props. Make it look like the real treasure hunt they see in the movie. Put a twist. Make their gadgets available with them and let them research online the answers for each station question. You can also use gadgets to cue for the clues, like picture texts, simple math problems, text formatting quiz and many others. At the end of the day, make sure to prepare something special for the kids. Discuss too, what they learn with the treasure hunt play you prepare.

Photo courtesy of Kiven Lawver via Flickr

 3.     Bring them (and their gadgets) to the Playground

Blend technology with nature and play. Bring them and their gadgets to the nearest commercial or residential playground. Ask them to play their gadgets while sitting and see if she/he would prefer playing video games than playing with swing, slide, marry-go-round and other playground equipment. If she/he prefers playing with gadgets, ask him/her to invite friends to join him or tell him to take pictures of her/his friends. If she/he prefers to play with kids in the playground, let her/him. Children have the opportunity to decide for themselves, stimulate their problem solving skills and creative thinking. When they explore the outdoors, they feel freer to wander. Seeing such scenario is just priceless, go create your own nature-themed play project for you and your kids.


Photo courtesy of Brisbane City Council via Flickr

  4.     Introduce them to Outdoor Science

Set everything you need outside, it can be in your backyard, near play area or your community playground. You can use simple and easy concepts of science to make kids hold their gadgets and be the next Einstein, modern Einstein. Awe them with do-it-yourself rainbow or the mentos-coke experiment or the all-time string telephone. After accomplishing each simple experiment, explain the basic concepts behind them and let them asks questions. Answer each patiently. Ask them to draw or write a simple review or analysis. You can also ask them to present their simple hypothesis in the front and illustrate it using their ipads or gadgets.

Photo courtesy of Isola di Einstein via Flickr

5.     Game for an Outdoor Quiz

Chances are you and your kids have had quite good and memorable experiences with nature recently. Then, it is now time to dipped your toes in the mud and relieve your outdoor moment through a simple quiz. Ask them the name of the bird you just saw or maybe as simple as asking him what color is the flower you’re holding. Let him/her search in on the internet through his/her gadget and at the same time, see and experience it real time. Make sure to take pictures of him/her too and upload it online. In this manner, he/she will appreciate more of nature while he/she is using his/her gadget.


Photo courtesy of Justin Henry via Flickr

We often hear negative effects of almost nothing and everything. Why not go between the lines and try a different approach. Work with technology for nature and your kids. Stimulate all of your kids’ senses, including their innate nature-lover.


Kimberly Grimms is a futurist who spends most of her time monitoring social behavior in search for new consumer trends. 

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