Not every girl has a natural love of hiking, climbing, and camping.
Maybe your girl is more the indoor type, preferring to explore her interests with all the comforts of home. That's great! She's interested, she's engaged, and she's learning and growing.
But because girls can benefit so much by getting outside and exploring nature, wouldn't it be great if she took her indoor interests outdoors? That way, she can enjoy her favorite activities with the added benefit of getting outside to broaden and enrich her experiences.
Inspire her! Try one of these suggestions, suited for every type of girl, to infuse the natural world into her traditionally inside pursuits:
- STEM-y girl? So, she's really into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)? Perfect. Help her get out of the lab and into nature to explore the animal world. Or show her how she can test the purity of local water supplies. How about observing and recording the movement of the sun, moon, and stars? Science and nature are all around us, all the time!
- Avid reader? Instead of curling up on the couch with a book, she can stretch out under a tree on a blanket in the park. There's something about being outside in that big, welcoming, and unrestricted space that lets her experience whatever she's reading in a fuller, more inspiring way.
- Sporty type? Get her away from the indoor track and into nature! How about trail running? A family hike? Mixing up exercises challenges the body and muscle memory, as well as benefits the mind.
- Animal lover? She already can’t get enough of dogs and cats. So consider shaking things up, and have her study ants, butterflies, frogs, birds, whatever! Show her how to observe animals’ behavior and enjoy their worlds. But don’t forget to respect the habitats of our animal friends.
- Show-stopper? If all the world's a stage, why not set up makeshift shows in the backyard or schoolyard? Does she love dance? Puppets? Skits? Magic? Let her imagination—and energy—run loose! You'll see what inspiration (and applause) can come from taking performing arts outside. Brava!
- Social butterfly? Playdates and hangouts don't need to be indoors at a friend’s home or at the pizza place. Help her organize a potluck picnic with friends or for her class! Take it up a notch: add an environmental theme, and use decorations from, or inspired by, nature.
Do you recognize your girl on this list? Excellent! Inspiring her to explore in new and different ways is as simple as saying, "Let's try doing this outside!".
"We know from research that spending time outdoors helps girls thrive," says Liz Williams, Outdoor Initiative Lead with Girl Scouts of the USA. "Start with activities she already loves—no matter what they are—and just take them outside. Before you know it, she'll be developing new skills that help her in school, help her socially, and help her gain confidence. There's really no reason not to get out there and give it a try."
Your girl's outdoor experiences don’t need to be elaborate or time-consuming—a simple, daily dose of nature will make a real difference in her life.
Get ready. Get set. Get outside!